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Valentine.gr  

February 2010

Did you know that Chinese lanterns that hanging by Physalis plant incude small edible orange fruit like tomatos?

 Physalis alkekengi (Chinese lantern)  

Physalis - Physalis spp.

Physalis is a genus of flowering plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), native to warm temperate and subtropical regions throughout the world. This genus has both ornamental and edible uses, depending on the species, and it is widely cultivated all over the world. The genus is characterised by the small orange fruit similar in size, shape and structure to a small tomato, but partly or fully enclosed in a large papery husk derived from the calyx. Many Physalis species are called groundcherries. One name for Physalis peruviana is Cape gooseberry, not to be confused with the vast majority of gooseberries, which are of the genus Ribes.

They are herbaceous plants growing to 0.4–3 m tall, similar to the common tomato - a relative - but usually with a stiffer, more upright stem; they can be either annual or perennial. Most require full sun and fairly warm to hot temperatures. Some species are sensitive to frost, though others such as P. alkekengi (Chinese lantern) tolerate severe cold when dormant in winter.

Physalis typically develops slightly hairy leaves, thick stems, and delicate yellow to orange flowers. When fruit develops, it grows inside a husk, and the color may vary: red, orange, and yellow are all common shades for Physalis fruits, along with more exotic shades like purple.

The fruits of some species are edible, with an acidic kick like that of tomatoes. Some have notes of tropical fruit like pineapples, while others have a more earthy flavor. Physalis fruits can be eaten out of hand raw, sliced and thrown into salads, used in salsas and sauces, cooked in stir fries, dried, and cooked in preserves and jellies. Some varieties are more savory in nature, while others are very sweet. Tomatillos in particular are very popular in Latin America, and they are rich in vitamin C, making them a great addition to the diet.

In Chinese medicine, the Physalis is used as a remedy for abscesses, coughs, fevers and sore throats, among others. Smooth groundcherry (P. subglabrata) is considered a hallucinogenic plant by some, and its cultivation for other than ornamental purposes is outlawed in Louisiana by State Act 159. However, its use as a hallucinogen does not appear widespread.

Physalis peruviana, commonly known as physalis, is indigenous to South America, but was cultivated in South Africa in the region of the Cape of Good Hope during the 1800s, imparting its common name, cape gooseberry.

The fruit is a small round berry about the size of a marble with numerous small yellow seeds. It is bright yellow and sweet when ripe, making it ideal for snacks, pies or jams. It is popular in fruit salads, sometimes combined with avocado.

Its most notable feature is the single papery pod that covers each berry. Because of the fruit's decorative appearance, it is sometimes used in restaurants as an exotic garnish for desserts. If the fruit is left inside the husks, its shelf life at room temperature is over 30–45 days.

Physalis alkekengi (Bladder cherry, Chinese lantern, Japanese lantern, or Winter cherry; Japanese: hozuki), is a relative of P. peruviana (Cape Gooseberry), easily identifiable by the larger, bright orange to red papery covering over its fruit, which resemble Chinese lanterns. It is native from southern Europe east across southern Asia to Japan. It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 40–60 cm tall, with spirally arranged leaves 6–12 cm long and 4–9 cm broad. The flowers are white, with a five-lobed corolla 10–15 mm across, with an inflated basal calyx which matures into the papery orange fruit covering, 4–5 cm long and broad.

It is a popular ornamental plant, though can be invasive with its wide-spreading root system sending up new shoots some distance from where it was originally planted. It has escaped cultivation various places around the world. It has food and medicinal uses, but because its side effects include miscarriage and abdominal pain, it must be used in moderation.[citation needed] Like a number of other species in the genus Physalis, it contains a wide variety of physalins.

The extinct Dacian language has left little traces, but in De Materia Medica by Pedanius Dioscorides, a plant called Strychnos alikakabos (Στρύχνος άλικακάβος) is discussed, which was called kykolis (or cycolis) by the Dacians. Some have considered this plant to be Physalis alkekengi, but Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) has been proposed as an alternative candidate and indeed this widely-traded medical plant seems to be a better match.

Physalis ixocarpa (Tomatillo) This perennial is native to Mexico and was used by the Aztecs. Unlike other Physalis fruits (the Cape gooseberry and the ground cherry), the tomatillo completely fills the Chinese-lantern-looking husk that is characteristic of physalis--in this case filled with "little green tomatoes" (1-2" diameter) with a tart flavor that develops once you cook them. It's a key ingredient of Mexican salsa verde.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis
http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-physalis.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_peruviana
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_alkekengi
http://www.soupsong.com/ftomatil.html

 

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Water Banana - Typhonodorum lindleyanum
Salak - Salacca zalacca
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Maqui - Aristotelia chilensis
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Suriname cherry - Eugenia uniflora
Australian Finger Lime - Citrus australasica
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Java Apple - Syzygium samarangense
Screwpine - Pandanus utilis
Marimo - Aegagropila linnaei
Achocha/Caigua - Inca cucumber - Cyclanthera pedata
Rubber Tree - Hevea brasiliensis
Sugar cane - Saccharum officinarum
Sacha inchi - Plukenetia volubilis
Coffea - Coffee Tree - Coffea arabica
Liquorice - Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra
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Iceplant - Mesembryanthemum crystallinum
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Roselle - Hibiscus sabdariffa
Black Goji - Lycium ruthenicum Murray
Rose Cactus - Pereskia grandifolia
Durian - Durio zibethinus
Jackfruit tree - Artocarpus heterophyllus
Cassabanana - Sicana odorifera
Chilean myrtle - Arrayan - Luma apiculata
Kurrajong - Brachychiton populneus
Rice-paper Plant -Tetrapanax papyrifer
Shell Ginger - Alpinia zerumbet
Harlequin Glorybower - Clerodendrum trichotomum
Coco de Mer - Lodoicea maldivica
Silver Tree - Leucadendron argenteum
Buffaloberry - Shepherdia argentea
Himalayan Honeysuckle - Leycesteria formosa
Raisin Tree - Hovenia dulcis
Borojo - Alibertia patinoi - Borojoa patinoi
Butterfly Pea - Clitoria ternatea
Honey Flower - Melianthus major
Ombu - Phytolacca dioica
Lion's Ear - Wild Dagga - Leonotis leonurus
Moringa - Miracle Tree - Moringa oleifera
Sea Daffodil - Pancratium maritimum
Spear Lily - Gymea - Doryanthes
Camphor tree - Cinnamomum camphora
Waterwheel - Aldrovanda vesiculosa
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Four o'clock - Marvel of Peru - Mirabilis jalapa
Dead Man’s Fingers - Decaisnea
Bitter Melon - Momordica charantia
Shoapnuts Tree - Shoapberry - Sapindus
Acerola - Malpighia
Monkey Ladder - Sea Heart - Entada gigas
Cherimoya - Annona cherimola
Caper - Capparis spinosa
Lithops - Living Stones
Chaste Tree - Vitex agnus-castus
Chilean Lantern Tree - Crinodendron hookerianum
Parrot's Beak - Lotus berthelotii
Water Hyacinth - Eichhornia crassipes
Guaiac Tree - Guaiacum officinale - Lignum-vitae
Mickey Mouse bush - Ochna serrulata
Cow's Udder - Solanum mammosum
Miracle fruit - Synsepalum dulcificum
Akebia - Akebia quinata
Chilean Firebush - Embothrium coccineum
Caesalpinia - Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Welwitschia - Welwitschia mirabilis
Saguaro - Carnegiea gigantea
Schisandra - Schisandra chinensis
Monarda - Bee balm - Bergamot
Tamarind - Tamarindus indica
Neomarica - Walking Iris
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Reseda - Mignonette
Paulownia - Paulownia tomentosa
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Blue Poppy - Meconopsis
Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis
Tamarillo - Cyphomandra betacea
Goji - Wolfberry - Lycium barbarum
Vanilla - Vanilla Planifolia
Stevia - Stevia rebaudiana
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Clematis
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Jade vine - Strongylodon macrobotrys
Sansevieria - Snake Plant
Trochetia
Yareta - Azorella compacta
African tulip tree - Spathodea campanulata
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Achiote - Annato - Bixa orellana
Sausage Tree - Kigelia pinnata
Castor Oil Plant - Ricinus communis
Firewheel Tree - Stenocarpus sinuatus
Bat Flower - Tacca
Snake gourd - Trichosanthes cucumerina
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Pickerel Weed - Pontederia
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Astilbe - False Goats Beard
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Sweet Box - Sarcococca
Christmas Cactus - Schlumbergera
Foxtail Lily - Eremurus
Rue - Ruta graveolens
Pittosporum
Ylang-Ylang - Cananga odorata
Rose of Jericho - Anastatica hierochuntica
Gunnera
Waterlily - Nymphaea
Calico Flower - Aristolochia
Daylily - Hemerocallis
Contorted hazel - Corylus avellana Contorta
Torch Ginger - Etlingera elatior
Mistletoe - Viscum album
Devil´s claw - Harpagophytum procumbens
Teasel - Dipsacus
Pampas grass - Gynerium argenteum - Cortaderia Selloanna
Purple coneflower - Echinacea purpurea
Coral Tree - Erythrina crista-galli
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Narcissus - Daffodil
Mimosa pudica - Sensitive Plant
Boxwood - Buxus sempervirens
Firethorn - Pyracantha
Star of Bethlehem - Ornithogalum
Cosmos
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Papyrus - Cyperus papyrus
Zinnia
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Passiflora - Passion Flower
Calendula - Marigold
Lupine - Lupinus
Canna - Indian Shot
Witch Hazel - Hamamelis
Oak - Quercus
Brunsvigia - Candelabra Flower
Tree peony - Paeonia suffruticosa
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Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus
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Oleander - Nerium Oleander
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Amaryllis - Hippeastrum
Butchers broom - Ruscus aculeatus
Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis
Gloriosa
Bamboo
Gladiolus
Artichoke - Cynara scolymus
Clivia - Clivia Miniata
Dipladenia - Dipladenia sanderii
Date palm - Phoenix dactylifera
Peach - Prunus persica
Almond - Prunus amygdalus
Willow - Salix
Pomegranate - Punica granatum
Protea cynaroides
Colchicum autumnale
Bird of Paradise - Strelitzia reginae
Cardon - Pachycereus pringlei
Wolffia arrhiza
Puya raimondii
Fuchsia
Asphodelus - Asphodel
Primula - Primerose
Dicentra spectabilis - Bleeding Heart
Edelweiss - Leontopodium alpinum
Helleborus Niger - Christmas Rose
Zantedeschia - Calla Lily
Fritillaria imperialis - Crown imperial
Aster
Heliconia
Common Sunflower - Helianthus annuus
Bee Orchid - Orphys apifera
Convalaria majalis - Lily of the Valley - Muguet
Syringa Vurgaris - Lilac
Viola
Impantiens
Snowdrop - Galanthus
Poinsettia - Euphorbia pulcherrima
Dionaea muscipula
Banksia
Sea anemone
Amorrhophallus titanum
Rafflesia arnoldi

 

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