Hōzuki Fruit

Chinese Lantern fruit

While the flowers were being arranged in Goten for this arrangement, one of the “lanterns” fell off. Not being familiar with hōzuki I was surprised to learn that the papery coverings conceal a tomato-like fruit. The hōzuki used in the arrangement are rather large, and as you can see the fruit is similar in diameter to a 100 yen coin.

I was told that the fruit is not normally eaten (a quick search online reveals that it is poisonous but has some medicinal uses), but that the fruit can be made into a sort of whistle. Children used to (and some might still today!) soften the fruit by rolling it between their hands before removing the seeds and meat of the fruit through a hole where the stem had been. After the fruit is cleaned out leaving only the casing, you can blow into it and it will make a noise. I didn’t manage to give it a try with the fruit above (it was probably not ripe enough for the process to go smoothly anyway), but the next time I find some discarded hōzuki