Lantern Weed

Awhile ago, I showed you a picture of a weed that I didn’t know the name of.


I dubbed it “Lantern Weed”

Someone was curious what was inside.

Check it out. A berry of sorts.


Someone mentioned that it was a gooseberry plant.

I guess it kinda looks like a gooseberry.

Someone else mentioned that it looked like a chinese lantern plant.

So I took pictures just before the frost put it to sleep for the winter.


Not much change, a little shriveled and the veins are deeper in color.

They mentioned that it would turn orange. Which, I will tell you, I was hoping for. Since it’s my favorite color.

I’m still not sure if it’s a gooseberry, a chinese lantern, both or neither.

I took this picture after the frost. Sorry about the focus. The Captain mowed them down before I realized the picture quality wasn’t up to par.


Several said it was edible. Well, until I find out exactly what it is…….

I’m not eating nothing.

Would anyone like to be the royal taste tester?

UPDATE! We now know what these are.


23 comments on “Lantern Weed

  1. Good morning, I know nothing about plants, my husband does all of that. LOL Of course I know a rose when I see one.

    I received an award this morning and I am giving it to you Please go to my blog to read the rules and pick up the award

  2. I remember these plants. I don’t know what they were called, I was a youngster running in the woods and fields. But I remember eating things that looked like that when I was out scouting around and playing.

  3. Good idea not to eat it until you know for sure. I does kind of look like a gooseberry to me too. I found your blog through Old Lady Lincoln’s post this morning.

  4. Sorry, I won’t be your taste tester but I sure like the looks of the plant. Someone out there has to know what this plant is. We just need for the right person to come along because I am also very curious to find out the name of this plant.

  5. We called them Chinese Lanterns when I was growing up. We never ate them so I don’t know if you could or not.

    We usually found them in the field when we were picking cotton. They must come up late because I don’t remember cutting them out of the cotton in the spring.

  6. I haven’t seen them grow wild like that around here. Mine really do look similar but in a pot and the lantern turns a bright orange. I am chicken so I wouldn’t help you taste test….but I would pick you up off the ground if you did it 😉

  7. No tasting here either!! But it doesn’t look like a gooseberry to me-they just grow on bushes like blueberries-no lanterns. The plant is beautiful whatever it is!

  8. Hi, I just found your page when I googled info on gooseberries. I thought I had found some semi dried off seed “lanterns” but know from my childhood there is a plant (yours) that looks very similar to gooseberries. I tasted a small taste of mine and they were horrible and they are also smaller berries than gooseberries typically and more of them on the bush. The gooseberry leaf from my memory is a little rounder and the gooseberry fruit gets over half inch in diameter wheras the non edible plant gets heaps of fruit where the berry is not as bright a yellow and is often about a centimeter in diameter. If you have some fruit that are big and yellow then I’d taste it. Gooseberries are tangy/tart but nice. The others are YUK. A few gooseberries in an apple pie is magic and the plants grow well in a garden. Cheers, O

  9. I have those growing in my yard and I thought they were goose berries but they are not and I am trying to find out what they are also. They have 10 inches deep white root runners that break easily if you pull on it remaining root will sprout so impossible to rid of the weed.

  10. I’ve got this, Lantern weed a good name until we all know more….the internal berry 12mm, greeny purple, tiny seeds inside grape sized fruit enclosed by the dry papery case which doesn’t turn red just stays bleachy brown paper. The fruit was full of tiny seeds in pulp inside I LICKED IT… sweet malty taste and loved it but didn’t eat… it also smells nice like malt.
    I would dearly love to know if it is safe to eat and any herbal properties.

  11. Becky, so did you try eating it? We grew it and called it Poha growing up on a Maui farm, makes delicious jam. When I moved to Maryland a similar plant popped up in my yard but was not the same, had soft deep white runner roots roots that broke off when you pulled the plant, spread and plants came up all over the yard. The Poha we grew on Maui just had one root that did not spread so may be related but was definitely a different plant. Here a link to the Poha:
    and to goldenberry:
    So may be ground cherry, poha, goldenberry, cape gooseberry, chinese lantern, We need a botanist.
    The Incan Goldenberry (Physalis peruviana), also known as the Cape Gooseberry isn’t a true gooseberry but a botanical relative to the potato and tomato that’s been growing in the Andes for thousands of years. The Goldenberry is one of the few non-native fresh fruits available to the early western settlers of Australia and has made its rounds throughout the worlds over hundreds of years as an exotic fruit.

  12. Im so happy to see this picture. It reminds me when I was little- I used to eat these fruits. They grew wildly in my garden. They tasted really good when they were ripe!

  13. I saw this plant growing at my back yard . It probably came from the birds’ droppings and it grew on its own. I let it grow and see what becomes of this plant. So, there it is, I saw the lantern and inside a berry- is it you call gooseberry but i think there are many types of it. This plant also grows well in the tropics. I had earlier saw these plants among the bushes and an Indonesian lady told me that it grows in their land too and they ate it. She said it can be eaten. If so, I’d like to keep this plant and hope it keeps on growing and I will have plenty of harvest and make gooseberry muffin or scones! or even jam! Years ago, I also had a cherry tomato plant that just grew out of nowhere on the same plot of area. Also another time, a chilly plant (very spicy and red hot chillie). All these from the birds!

  14. they call it poha in Maui, makes a great jam, here is a description from a salad recipe:
    Poha berries are also known as pok pok, goldenberries, cape cod gooseberries and ground cherries (to name just a few). These berries are originally from South America but they seem to grow well everywhere. They have a husk like a tomatillo and a sweet and tart flavour. I would have happily foraged for these myself, but the ones on the property where my mum lives were not ripe yet. I know that watercress is not that exotic, but the bunch we got was the most spicy and beautiful watercress I have ever eaten. It bore no resemblance to the squished, tiny leafed bunches that are sold on packed ice in NYC.

  15. Yes, they are known as ground cherries I learned. We have them along the country driveway. Says you can eat them, but I’m chicken, too. They have many health benefits supposedly, and vitamin C. I want to see someone eat them confidently first before I do 🙂 They are a member of the nightshade family, and the horse nettle looks similar without the paper husk, and that is poisonous. But I found “ground cherry” when searching for “paper lantern weed,” and that’s what other people are calling it.

  16. That is absolutely a gooseberry. I bought seed from Baker Crek, and this is exactly what came up. It’s called Giant Cape Gooseberry, and the little fruit inside the lantern is what turns orange when it ripens, and they are good to eat. Sweet unique taste. If you don’t want it, you could send it here to me in Texas!

  17. the plant is called groundcherry, a member of nightshade family (so is tomatillo, and Chinese Paper lantern) Poisonous till fully ripe. Unlike Paper Lantern plant, these pods do not change into red color when dry, but you could color them for decoratve arrangement. A noxious weed in some parts. Some say annual, some say perennial. Check Ohio state u for description.

  18. Please there is a poisonous plant in Iowa that looks just like it my advice is go to your local Ag Dept and ask before you eat them.

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