Physalis alkekengi L.

Chinese Lanterns

Sp. Pl. 1: 183 (1753) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Extinct

Establishment means:Introduced

Perennial herb to 50 cm high, rhizomatous, sparsely pubescent with long, simple hairs. Leaves alternate, 1–2 per node, ovate, to 8 cm long, to 5 cm wide, apex acute, base broadly cuneate to rounded, margins entire, sometimes with a few weakly developed teeth or lobes; petiole 1–2.5 cm long, grooved above. Flowers on pedicels 1–1.5 cm long; calyx c. 1 cm long, lobes triangular, 2–3.5 mm long; corolla 5-angled, 13–17 mm long, white or pale yellow; anthers 4 mm long; style 8–9 mm long, stigma capitate. Fruiting calyx 10-angled, to 5 cm long, showy, orange-red; berry globose, c. 1.5 cm diam.; seeds disc-shaped, broadly reniform or ovate, c. 2 mm long, yellow. Flowers summer–autumn.

Also naturalised SA. Native to Asia and Europe. Collected in Victoria at Avoca. Willis (1972, p. 548) also reported it occurring sporadically from Melbourne through to Ballarat but no specimens exist from this area to verify that they occurred there outside of cultivation.

Cultivated for its colourful fruiting calyx.

Created by: Daniel Ohlsen, 2016-06-01
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2018-02-23
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Asteranae
order Solanales
family Solanaceae
genus Physalis
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <>. Find Physalis alkekengi in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Physalis alkekengi in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Goldfields extinct introduced
Highlands-Southern Fall extinct introduced

State distribution

Distribution map
South Australia
Australian Capital Territory