Plant & Flower Identification

Is Chinese Lantern Plant Poisonous? How To Make It Less Toxic

Numerous gardeners are concerned about the matter: Is the Chinese Lantern plant poisonous? People are scared that this tree could cause injuries and even death when they touch it.

Don’t panic soon because this post will unveil the mystery about this plantation, especially its toxicity.

Apart from that, various measures to control the Chinese Lantern plant are worth your consideration. Keep scrolling down for further information!

About The Chinese Lantern Plant

chinese lantern plant poisonous

The Chinese Lantern plant has a scientific name, Physalis Alkekengi. It is a hardy perennial tree that often blooms when the summer comes.

Its small, white 5-petaled flowers show a creamy hue of color and give off a pleasant scent, appealing to various insects and bugs.

However, the Chinese Lantern fruit is the most common, and this plant is usually grown for its fruits. As its name suggests, it has the shape of a lantern with a bright orange color.

One interesting fact is that this tree spreads via its underground stems. That’s why they are very strong, and you could mistake them for roots.

The Chinese plant lantern requires much maintenance, particularly pruning. You must prune its tilted leaves or damaged branches before the blooming season comes.

This practice creates better conditions for its white flowers to thrive.

Is The Chinese Lantern Plant Poisonous?

Yes, the Chinese Lantern plant retains a quite high level of toxicity in its unripe berries and leaves.

In other words, when mistakenly eating unripe fruits or having your skin scratched by its foliage, you must visit the nearest hospital and consult a professional doctor’s advice.

The poisonous symptoms are somewhat similar to when you touch back Locust tree thorns.

You should pay close attention to these signs when accidentally scratching the tree’s leaves on your skin and eating immature fruits.

  • Banging headache
  • Stomachache, particularly the abdominal pain
  • Excess vomiting
  • Diarrhea, resulting in the loss of energy and minerals
  • The low body temperature (You usually feel cold)
  • Numbness (Sometimes, you cannot move your jaw)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Dilated pupils, etc.

Remember that only unripe Chinese Lantern berries trigger these symptoms, and the ripe fruits are still edible and don’t wreak havoc on your health.

How To Control The Toxic Chinese Lantern Plant?

How To Control The Toxic Chinese Lantern Plant

As mentioned earlier, the plant is able to spread quickly via its underground stems, so sometimes, it becomes an invasive species, endangering other trees in your garden.

To address this problem, this article will present various methods to control its invasive growth effectively. Hence, the chances of getting harmed by its toxic leaves or unripe berries are also reduced.

Dig The Entire Plant Up

To do so, you need a long-handled shovel to remove the plant’ roots from the ground and dispose of them.

Don’t push them by hand, as left roots could develop new trees, and you will see the new foliage’s growth after a few weeks.

Prepare a shovel and push it strongly into the soil to unearth the Chinese Lantern. Their roots are quite long, so it would be best to dig deeper and remember not to break them during the process.

Hire A Goat

A goat is the natural enemy of the invasive Chinese Lantern plant. When you hire a group of goats to eat weeds or unwanted species in your garden, this practice is called goatscaping.

It is suitable for large-scale eradication projects.

There are lots of benefits that this practice brings:

  • The moist soil on the top ground is not disturbed.
  • Goats eat plants, and their digestive enzymes make the excreted seeds non-viable.
  • Weeds and other plants become less vigorous over time after being jumped by goats.


Mowing comes in handy when numerous Chinese lantern plants have appeared on the lawn. Regular mowing helps eradicate all of them by cutting their green leaves.

Due to this, they cannot perform the photosynthesis process and gradually lose nutrients necessary for development. Their roots are also deprived of nourishment, rendering their gradual death.


Solarization is a new concept in gardening. This approach utilizes the extreme heat from the sun to raise the soil temperature and kill some living creatures within it.

They include the vigorous stems of a Chinese Lantern flower plant that thrive well under the ground.

You’d better notice the following notes closely before starting to solarize.

  • It should be undertaken in the summer when rays of sunshine are most intense.
  • Removing all weeds or plant debris on the ground to maximize the light exposure.
  • Spread a clear plastic sheeting on the soil or even bury its edges under the ground for a snug fit.
  • Pour water on the soil after finishing the process to retain its moisture.

Use An Herbicide

The application of a herbicide is another great idea.

You’d better choose some products that contain glyphosate, an effective agent for eradicating the invasion of weeds and tropical plants, like the Chinese Lantern tree.

However, this chemical substance is toxic. Burning is unavoidable when it makes contact with the eyes, nose, or other parts of your body. You must wear protective garments carefully to protect your health.

Use A Container Garden

Container gardening is one of the proactive measures many people recommend, thanks to its effectiveness.

This method is functional at restricting the spreading of roots and stems within the ground.

To start this procedure, you must prepare a vessel with good drainage that can support a plant reaching up to 30 inches in height and 24 inches in width.

For a better result, you can create new holes in the vessel’s body to enhance its water-draining ability.

Divide The Plant

It is advisable to divide the plant by cutting its roots and removing stems with the purpose of discarding or transplanting them.

This method is quite difficult and time-consuming, yet its benefits are undeniable.

It is good for reducing the quantity, enhancing the airflow, inhibiting pest infestations, and lowering the threats of fungal diseases.

Harvest The Pods

Pods are the parts that a Chinese Lantern often relies on to self-sow. So when you harvest them and create a collection full of floral arrangements, its spreading rate will likely decrease.

Besides, after collecting them, you wait a few days for them to dry and knit various pods together with the help of stitches to make your favorite everlasting creations.

You can use them for home decoration or meaningful handmade gifts.

Isolate The Area Where You Grow Chinese Lantern

To prevent your outdoor plant from invading your neighbor’s garden, just isolate it. Choosing a spot bounded by hardscaping objects, such as concrete, stone, or brick, is a good idea.

You can even think of a foundation garden built on your house’s wall, and this enclosed space will curb the excess sprawling of roots.

However, you must put lots of effort into designing the garden and use many modern devices to accomplish this concept.

Sink A Pot Into The Garden Soil

A simpler approach is sinking a pot amid the garden bed. All you need to do is prepare a good pot and pour fertile, well-drained soil into it before transplanting your tree to a new location.

This ensures that its sprawling stems have limited space within the pot, hindering its extra development under the ground.

And you also don’t have to worry about the soil, as you could take it right from the garden.

Sow Seeds In A Line Raised Bed

Cultivating the Chinese Lantern seeds in a line is an optimal way of averting their further sprawling during the mature phase.

To maximize this approach’s effectiveness, you’d better line the bottom with landscaping fabrics.

It would be best to place wood near each plant and staple fabrics next to them. If possible, overlap them to gain more protection.

Beware Of The Vigorous

After growing a Chinese Lantern tree in your garden, you should be aware of some species with the same properties and growth rate to avoid planting them.

Suppose you grow many plants like the Chinese Lantern with fast spreading; you seem unable to control their sprawling rate during their growth phase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chinese Lantern flower plant

Is Chinese Lantern Plant Poisonous To Dogs?


The Chinese Lantern brush belongs to the Solanaceae family, consisting of other toxic species, like the nightshade family, bladder cherries, or tomatoes.

They all have one thing in common: solanine. This compound causes much harm to your canines via a wide variety of symptoms, like drooling, tremors, seizures, gastrointestinal upset, and dilated pupils.

For that reason, you are advised not to let your furry friend play near the toxic plant or consume it.

Are Chinese Lantern Plants Poisonous To Touch?


This tree is completely safe to touch. Yet, if you hurt yourself by scratching your skin with its leaves or eating unripe Chinese Lantern berries, you risk being harmed by its toxicity.

The Bottom Line

Is the Chinese Lantern plant poisonous? Its leaves and immature fruits contain a high toxicity level, so you’d better watch out when approaching them and keep them far from your children.

On the other hand, the ripe berries are edible, but you should exercise caution when harvesting them.

Samuel Mark

Hello I am Samuel. Samuel's Garden is a garden blog where I share my experiences in garden caring and tree growth. Hope you enjoy it!

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button