The common name of chocolate flower refers to the surprising chocolate fragrance of the flower. Another common name I came across is lyreleaf greeneyes. Like the specific epithet it refers to the shape of the basal leaves, but also to the green disc of the flower after the ray flowers (petals) have fallen. That’s a pretty descriptive common name and tempts me to call the plant chocolate lyreleaf greeneyes. That would cover all the bases. But hey, if you want to be safe and impress all sorts of folks too, why not learn the botanical name Berlandiera lyrata. The genus is in honor of Jean Louis Berlandier who explored and collected plants in Mexico and the now Texas as part of a Mexican boundary survey for the Mexican government in the late 1820s. He’s honored in easily a dozen botanical names. And I can’t remember if I mentioned that chocolate flower is in the Asteraceae, but now I have.
From spring through fall I have a couple early morning drives that take me through roadside stands of chocolate flower. One is the occasional drive up Dragoon Road headed to the interstate and on to Tucson. The other drive is on Saturday mornings along Central Highway near McNeal and headed to the Bisbee Farmers Market. Both require that I roll down the truck window and take in the wild aroma of Berlandiera lyrata. Oh yeah.
The photos are mine and were taken very near our 1991 Marvelette and though I grow chocolate flower to sell, these are the wild ones that were growing around the place when we got here 22 years ago. And yes, I still take my homegrown native plants to the Bisbee Farmers Market most Saturdays from April through October. It’s wonderful.