The Beauty of Chinese Lantern Pods


I have long been fascinated by Chinese Lantern plants. One of my neighbors has them lining the fence in front of her yard. In reading about them for this post, I learned they are nightshades, and therefore are related to tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

I try not to pluck any bloom before its time so have never had the opportunity to look at the pods closely. However, when I walked by the house yesterday, one of the pods was lying in the middle of the sidewalk. I took it home and began my investigation! What follows is a mixture of camera and microscopic photos.

(You can enlarge the photos by clicking on any of the galleries.)

The pod itself has a consistency similar to a heavy paper. When I opened it, I discovered that it was not the hollow object I had thought it to be. The red ball I found inside was striking, and it did indeed seem similar to a ripe tomato.


When I opened the fruit, it looked even more like a tomato. One of the things I learned later was that the fruit is edible when it is ripe, although not very tasty, but it is poisonous when it is not ripe. I felt relieved I had had the intuition that I should wash my hands after cutting it open.


Using the microscope I had the privilege of once again viewing the beauty and intricacies of nature.

Here are photos of the pod from the outside

and the inside.

 The stem has multiple colors and features.

Here is what the bottom of the pod looks like.

Once I opened the pod, I found the shiny red fruit and the part that connects the fruit to the pod to be so interesting.

 My favorite views came when I looked inside the fruit.

I hope you enjoyed this journey into the Chinese Lantern pod. I sure did.

12 thoughts on “The Beauty of Chinese Lantern Pods

    1. I love the pictures I got to share, but I sure wish I could share the detail that I see when I look directly in the microscope rather than through the phone adapter. When I look directly into the microscope I see that so many of the “hair-like” structures have a liquid drop at the top of them.

      Writing this made me realize I forgot a series of photos. I will add them, so take another look in a little while.


  1. I have always liked these Chinese lantern pods, another symbol of Fall. I had no idea about them being related to tomatoes, or that they have a tiny fruit inside that even looks like a cherry tomato! The close ups are great.

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