I have some Chinese Lanterns that I started from seed this year. I
noticed that after the "lantern" part dries up & falls away, there
appears to be a small tomato-like fruit inside. Are these edible
(either for me or the birds)? Are they related to the tomato family?
The orange lanterns remind me a bit of tomatillos. Thanks
Is this the one you mean?
According to a couple of sources the fruits are edible. But if you eat
some and die don't come blaming me. Personally, I always thought that
the fruits looked something like tomatillos of salsa fame.
I was served these once as part of dessert on a luxury cruise ship. They
(When the waiter explained what they were, he was astonished that I knew
what he was talking about, and had even grown them. Apparently many people
asked about them, but no one else had heard of them.)
On Sat, 8 Oct 2005 11:19:06 -0500
] I was served these once as part of dessert on a luxury cruise ship. They
] were fine.
] (When the waiter explained what they were, he was astonished that I knew
] what he was talking about, and had even grown them. Apparently many people
] asked about them, but no one else had heard of them.)
In Europe these are readily available in good outdoor markets, in season.
They're very expensive, though. I've been served them a few times in
restaurants and thought them good, and always wondered why mine
are bitter. (They're attractive but quite invasive, so be careful! I had
a real plague of them in the vegetable garden for awhile.)
It turns out there are (at least) two varieties, the truly edible ones
have a yellow, not orange lantern. A friend planted them this year,
they are an annual (or tender in EU zone 8) and she hasn't yet
harvested them. Anyway the other, perennial kind appears not to
be poison, as I am still around to report.
Sorry don't recall the true names of the varieties.
] > I have some Chinese Lanterns that I started from seed this year. I
] > noticed that after the "lantern" part dries up & falls away, there
] > appears to be a small tomato-like fruit inside. Are these edible
] > (either for me or the birds)? Are they related to the tomato family?
] > The orange lanterns remind me a bit of tomatillos. Thanks
] > Jacqueline
they are edible but have very little flavor. supermarket cherry
tomatoes in february best describes their flavor. I eat lots of wild
things but even i can not get worked up about them. I have several
hundred plants along a fencerow and I do not touch them.
If you were to fry them with fresh ground pepper, sweet pepper, garlic, &
onions, then add thinly sliced potatoes & continue frying, I bet they'd be
pretty good. Or any fried green tomato recipe. Worked with purple
-paghat the ratgirl
Get your Paghat the Ratgirl T-Shirt here:
Chinese Lanterns, like tomatoes, potatoes, deadly nightshade, tobacco
and henbane all belong to the Solanaceae family. Chinese Lantern is a
name applied to Physalis alkengii, but I wouldn't be confident that
other species don't also pass under that name. Googling tells me that
tomatillo is Physalis ixocarpa. Physalis belongs to the same part of the
family as potatoes, tomatoes and tamarillos, but also deadly nightshade
and mandrake. Datura appears to be one of the closer relatives of
Elsewhere I read that some species of Physalis are edible and some are
poisonous. (Solanum fruits also run from the edible such as tomato 
to the deadly.) Googling tells me that the unripe fruits of Physalis
alkengii are "HIGHLY TOXIC, MAY BE FATAL IF EATEN" (emphasis in source).
Personally I wouldn't risk eating the fruits even when ripe.
Google for Physalis poisonous, Physalis toxic or Physalis edible, for
 The botanists have sunk Lysopersicon into Solanum.
Stewart Robert Hinsley
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