The Chinese lantern plant, Physalis alkekengi (family Solanaceae).
Occasionally also applied (perhaps by confusion) to other plants of similar appearance.
Late Middle English; earliest use found in Promptorium Parvulorum. From Middle French alkakenge, alkacange, alkekange, etc., alkekengi, alchechingi, alcacangi, etc. and its etymon post-classical Latin alkakengi, alkekengi from Arabic al-kākanj from al the + kākanj winter cherry from an unattested Pahlavi form corresponding to Persian kākuna winter cherry, nightshade.