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Chinese Lantern

Our old neighbor had a plant that after you dry out the limbs in the fall, the blooms or whatever looks like small bright orange pumpkins. The bloom or shape is about an inch to inch and a half in diameter, and when dried is the small shape of a pumpkin. Do you have any idea of what kind of flower it is?

Sounds like a Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi). This aggressive perennial can quickly fill in and take over a garden. It is hardy in zone 3 to 9, prefers full sun and well-drained soils. The pumpkin like structure is the calyx, a protective floral covering. It is often used in dried flower arrangements. Most gardeners get their plants or seeds from those who are already growing the plant. Don't be afraid to ask - most gardeners are more than happy to share this plant. Or check garden centers and catalogues for seeds next spring.


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