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The Chocolate Flower - Information and Photos

Updated on January 28, 2012
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Berlandiera Lyrata, or Chocolate Daisy Flower

I was at my favorite botanical garden here in the Midwest, when I came upon a completely new flower to me. There was a lot of activity around these flowers as well, bees especially. Then I saw the little sign, and it said, "Chocolate Flower." I thought, chocolate flower, what? Its official name is Berlandiera Lyrata and is a native perennial.

You know what I had to do next, right? I smelled the flower. I kid you not, it the yummiest smelling flower I could have ever imagined. Not real almost. In fact, not only is it the yummiest flower I ever smelled, but it is the best smelling flower I can imagine, as far as a fragrance of a tasty treat or dessert. Yes, it smells exactly like chocolate! I have to get this flower for my garden this spring. It is a must. I am in love with this little flower.

The fragrance for these little flowers is strongest in the morning ,evidently. They attract several kinds of beneficial insects as well, including butterflies! Where has this flower been, that I have somehow missed it all this time when planting my butterfly garden? Well, no longer will I be in the dark in regards to this lovely little daisy looking flower.

This plant can sometimes get a bit "leggy" or "straggly," like so many others. You can cut them back, and they will come back more compact and full again. This is true of many flowers in the garden, and herbs as well.

Chocolate flowers grow well naturally in places like the Southwest and in grasslands, especially in the 4000 to 6000 foot range. It has been recommended for perennial borders, and I heard that when several are grown together the fragrance is of course stronger and more easily noticed.

If you happen to have a front or back porch area, or walkway up to the house, these are great areas to plant them as well. That way, the fragrance can be fully enjoyed by you and others that come around. I imagine that window boxes and hanging planters would be the same way. All this talk about nice smelling flowers, takes me back in time to some friends of my mother's, growing up. They lived in California, and had these pretty but stinky flowers along their path up to their house! I kid you not, and they were called or nicknamed skunk flowers. Supposedly, they would repel mosquitoes or something, but often they just about repelled some humans too! So it does matter what you plant along that walkway, as people will notice on a warm still day, for better or for worse. It was a source of fun, we all always joked about those skunk smelling flowers.

Growth Habit

These plants grow to be about one foot by two feet, and bloom in the Summer and Fall months. You can plant them in sunny or partially shaded locations. I imagine the sunnier the better however, if you want lots of flowers. They don't require a lot of water, which is good. Generally speaking, they have a fast growth rate, and can be pruned in the winter.

Prolonging the Blooming Period

As with so many other flowers, you can prolong the blooming period for these chocolate daisy flowers by deadheading them. In other words, remove the dead and dying flowers, so the plants energy keeps getting put back into the production of flowers. To not do so, tells the plant to produce the seeds and seed head after a flower dies. It is trying to ensure its survival and longevity. I do let favorite flowers go to seed however, at the very end of the season, as I love to collect those favorite seeds for the next year and to share. Do keep an eye on the neat design the flower makes when it goes to seed. It is so different and unique looking, unlike any of my other flowers I have grown.

Chocolate Flowers Attract Beneficial Insects

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Chocolate Flower Poll

Have you ever heard of the Chocolate Flower before?

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    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Les Trois Chenes, thank you for your comment. I also am interested in chocolate flowers, and plan on growing these this next spring. Thanks for asking about the photo, I am sending off an email to you shortly. Have a great evening.

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      6 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      Lovely lens and beautiful pictures. I'm quite interested in chocolate flowers of one sort or another. I'd like to add it to an article I wrote on Squidoo all about chocolate, if I could use one of your pictures. (I'd put a link in of course). Could you let me know by e-mail if you would consider it? Thanks.

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thanks Leah, for your comment. Your enthusiasm echoes mine in that I will be doing that very same thing to prepare for spring planting time here. Glad you stopped by and left a comment.

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      What a cute little flower! I'll have to see if they'll grow in our region, though I suspect they'd be an annual here. I love anything that smells like chocolate! I had heard of chocolate cosmos before, but not this delightful little gem. I'll check out a few seed companies to see if I can find some seeds for this year. I love it!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello CMHypno, I han't heard of it either, for so many years. To me, and perhaps it was early enough in the day, they smelled very good, and just like chocolate. The hardiness of the flower is to negative 30 degreees F. In the United States, it has a USDA Zone of 4. I am glad you brought this up, and I will add this information to the hub itself as well, for others may want to know. Hopefully that maybe helps you to know if it would grow there. Perhaps, at least seasonally? Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 

      6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Never heard of a chocolate flower before, but if it really does smell that yummy, I would love to be able to grow some. Not sure if we can get them over here in the UK though - might be too cold!

    • oceansnsunsets profile imageAUTHOR

      Paula 

      6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Hello Laura, thank you! Yes, if you love chocolate, you will love these chocolate flowers. They smell exactly like chocolate, which just amazed me.

    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 

      6 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      Very interesting! I've never even heard of these before - but I love chocolate, so I'm sure I'd love these! Thanks for sharing!

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