The "Chocolate Fragrance Award" goes to the Chocolate
Scented Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata), a quarter-size, vibrant, yellow daisy with
striking red striped undersides and chocolate-colored stamens.
A small plant with an airy habit, Chocolate
Scented Daisy (sometimes called Chocolate Flower) makes a
nice, informal edging plant, and is most impressive and most fragrant
when planted in groups.
As you can see in the photo on the right, the little yellow pin points are
the actual flowers of the daisy. These come together with the petals to
make the bigger "flower".
Although native to the Southwest,
Chocolate Scented Daisy has shown itself to be adaptable to a wide
spectrum of conditions. A night bloomer, the flowers offer up their
rich cocoa scent in the morning. As the temperature rises the petals close
or drop and the fragrance recedes.
Left behind is a set of green bracts cupped around the
head of the
flower. The effect is like a daisy with a green eye, which
is why Berlandiera is also referred to as Green Eyes. In Texas and Florida, there
are slightly different species of Berlandiera and these are, respectively, called
Texas and Florida
As the bracts dry, they flatten outward and make a convenient holder
on which the large
milk chocolate colored seeds will ripen. Left alone to drop or be carried, these seeds come up readily
the next spring.
If harvested before the seeds come loose at the center
(note the cream colored attachment points around the middle), these brown
heads make an
attractive addition to the autumn dried arrangement.
As this little beneficial hover fly
has discovered the fragrant part of
the Chocolate Daisy is the stamens. Like many ray flowers, Chocolate Daisy
is an important beneficial insect attractor. Diversity is important when
trying to attract these helpful insects. Planting many different kinds of
flowers provides for the varied tastes of this diverse population.
fragrant stamens do taste like cocoa, or more accurately like unsweetened
chocolate. But, they are much more enjoyable adding their delicious
fragrance to the garden.
Berlandiera dies back to the
ground in winter and returns with a larger crown each spring, ultimately
reaching about two feet across and about 18 inches high.
Chocolate Scented Daisy is one of
the six plants chosen to be in our
5-11 Fragrant Herb Garden Six Pack
and in our fun
Kid's Herb Garden Six