This loveliness greeted me on our evening walk, papery hearts strung through the leaves in a cheery array.
People who are free with their emotions are accused by less fervent types of wearing their hearts on their sleeves. This plant wears its hearts on its leaves. If you have a heart, flaunt it. That is the message I took from this brave little plant, dangling its clusters of hearts as if to say that it has more affection to offer than one heart can hold.
Then my research informed me that each “heart” or “lantern” on the Physalis alkekengi is a pod that contains a small, edible, scarlet fruit.
When people are confident about a certain attribute, they believe others are eating their hearts out with envy. This plant offers you the chance to do just that, literally. But without the envy, an emotion that is never pretty or effective in the heart department.
The Garden Gnome actually supplied too much information ~ the Chinese Lantern is also called a Bladder Cherry, and is an herb with a myriad of medical uses, such as relief from “bed-wetting, facial paralysis, nocturnal incontinence, hoarse voice and … the desire to talk constantly.”
The little glowing lanterns suddenly seem a lot less romantic. Rather than holding out affection, Physalis alkekengi will help you hold your tongue. Or your bladder.