BLADDER CHERRY_Physalis alkekengi
A shrub of bladder cherry
Other names: Chinese lantern, winter cherry
Bladder cherry is a native of Asia. It is, however, now grown all over the world and has more or less naturalized everywhere.
An evergreen perennial herb, 40-80 cm tall, slightly woody at base, little branched, nodes sometimes inflated, mostly pubescent.
Enclosed fruits on plants look very attractive because of the red calyx
Petiole 1-3 cm; leaf blade narrowly to broadly ovate, 5-15 × 2-8 cm, glabrescent or pubescent, base oblique, cuneate, margin entire or coarsely dentate, sometimes with salient, unequal deltate lobes, apex acuminate. Pedicel 0.6-1.6 cm, glabrescent, puberulent or densely and persistently villous.
A flower of bladder cherry
Calyx broadly campanulate, ca. 6 mm, densely pubescent. Corolla white, mostly with a greenish or yellowish eye, rotate or campanulate, 1.5-2 cm in diam., lobed. Stamens yellow. Fruiting pedicel 2-3 cm; fruiting calyx orange or red, ovate, rounded, 10-ribbed, 2.5-4 × 2-3.5 cm, subleathery, invaginated at base, glabrescent or persistent villous.
Berry shiny, orange-red, globose, 1-1.5 cm in diam. Seeds pale yellow, reniform, ca. 2 mm in diam.
Asia, Europe; cultivated and naturalized elsewhere
The fruit are edible. These are also used in medicine as febrifuge and for few other purposes.. The fruit has twice the Vitamin C of lemons and resembles a blonde-red cherry tomato with a sweeter taste than its relative, the tomatillo.
A ripe fruit of bladder cherry
However, the unripe fruits can be toxic and therefore caution needs to be exercised while eating this fruit.
As the fruits are attractive, so bladder cherry is mostly grown for decorative purposes. But as the fruits are edible, so it is also cultivated for fruits.
The plants are raised from seed which is first sown in the nursery and then transplanted to field.