chocolate scented bulbs

Geoffrey Barnier
Thu, 06 Jul 2006 14:05:00 PDT
Bulbs with flowers or foliage smelling of chocolate would include Australia's Chocolate Lily, Arthropodium strictum, previously Dichopogon strictus found in all Austratian states & territories except Tasmania & the Northern Territory.

Its tubers were eaten raw or roasted by the Australian Aborigines although the chocolate smell of the flowers is not reflected in their flavour reportedly.  The Aboriginals ate many tuberous perennials like Bulbine bulbosa (Native Leek or Bulbine lily) and Anthropodium milleflorum (Vanilla Lily - yes, we have a bulb which has flowers smelling of vanilla too!), but their taste is too bland or bitter for European palettes and have not even found their way into the current Bush Food or Bush Tucker craze. Also, because these geophytes are native to grasslands and banks of streams & rivers, their numbers in the wild, especially Microseris lanceolata (Murnong or Yam Daisy), have been decimated by livestock.

Sadly, the plants themselves are not found even in Native Nurseries here.  Seed is obtainable only from specialist merchants and like seed of many Australian natives, is difficult to germinate.

I'm thrilled that seed which I sowed last October (Spring) germinated recently (early winter when I had almost given up hope!) and I now have three very healthy & thriving seedlings of our Chocolate Lily.

Geoff in sub-tropical NSW, Australia

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