What can you tell me about the dried orange flowers called Chinese lanterns?
Otherwise known as ground cherry or the husk tomato, and related to the tomatillo, Chinese Lanterns Physalis alkekengi or P. franchetii) are a spreading perennial sometimes found along roadsides and in fields. Their distinctive seed pods, the “lanterns” that dry so decoratively, encase small seeds. Tomatillos, the small green tomatoes with papery husks, used in green salsas, are similar. Both the tomatillo and Chinese Lanterns thrive in New England, and will self-seed, sending out volunteer plants beyond where you might wish them. Chinese Lanterns, especially, grow in virtually any soil and can become more dominant than you might care for, so be careful where you choose to plant them.