Nicandra physaloids is a weedy annual plant that was introduced from South America as an ornamental gardening plant. In Illinois it can be found growing wild in various counties except in the NW area of the state. This plant grows to a height of 2-5 feet tall, the foliage and stems are reported to be poisonous to mammals and untouched by deer. This member of the Nightshade Family grows well in moist soils in full or partial sun.
'Shoo-fly Plant', as it is commonly called, is reported to be a natural insect repellent. One website I found explained that juices from the stems and leaves were added to milk and set out for flies. When flies drank from this concoction they supposedly died shortly after. It is also called 'Apple of Peru' because it is native to that area and produces a small fruit similar to tomatillos the fruit is dry and inedible.
I've not seen this plant growing wild in Chicago and I think my plant came from a packet of wild seed mix I purchased last year. Some seeds must have overwintered and germinated on their own because I didn't sow any of the seeds I collected last year. In my garden the nectar and pollen attract various bees and the flowers are quick to set fruits and then seeds. The flowers are blue to lavender and upright but only last about a day and towards the end they become trumpet shape. I took the third photograph of the flower above to show how the flowers wilt in the heat that we've been experiencing.
While the flowers and the lantern-shaped husks that surround the fruit are interesting and add beauty to a shady part of my garden I will be more careful this year and make sure the seeds don't get a chance to fall to the ground and return next year.