Press-Republican

Lifestyles

February 10, 2014

These plants are next best thing to chocolate

Next best thing to favorite Valentine's treat

(Continued)

ANNUAL AND PERENNIAL CHOCOLATES

Other plants could cement a romance with the smell of chocolate in the months and years ahead. Despite its name, summer snowflake offers up its fragrance — admittedly slight and, to some noses, just sweet rather than chocolate-y — in spring. The “snowflake” part of the name is apt, however, for this bulb’s nodding blooms are indeed snowflake white, much like those of another bulb, snowdrops, except larger.

Summer brings chocolate-y scents from two annual flowers: chocolate cosmos and birds’ eyes. This cosmos has dark, almost black blossoms. Chocolate cosmos grows from a fat tuber, which you lift in the fall and replant each spring, just as you do dahlias. Birds’ eyes (Gilia tricolor) was once a popular half-hardy annual, loved for its profusion of creamy white flowers, which have dark brown throats and petals edged in purple blush. The chocolate scent is there, but slight.

Chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) is a perennial flower that is strong in scent and tough in disposition. And the plant’s also pretty, displaying characteristic daisy heads of yellow petals around green eyes for weeks and weeks through summer. Cut some blossoms, plunk them into a vase of water, and I guarantee your lover will be looking for hidden chocolate bars or “Kisses.”

Chocolate also wafts from a perennial vine. Crossvine (Akebia quinata), also known as five-leaf akebia, is native south of Virginia but root-hardy much further north. Grown in full sun, this vine covers itself with brown or reddish-brown trumpet-shaped blooms that blare out a mocha scent for a few weeks each spring. The flowers are followed by sausage-shaped, violet fruits that split lengthwise when ripe to reveal a jellied pulp — interesting and edible, but not even a hint of chocolate.

Caution: In some regions, akebia is listed as an invasive plant. Contact your local department of environmental conservation or cooperative extension office to find out if this is so in your area.

So between long-lived vines like akebia and an annual like birds’ eyes, the plant world abounds with chocolate-y aromas even if you can’t accommodate the real thing. Inhale to your hearts’ content; no one ever got fat or sick from too much of this kind of chocolate.

http://leereich.blogspot.com http://leereich.com

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Recent Featured Story
Monday: Home & Garden
Home & Gardening Tips:

Tuesday: Health
Health Tips:
Wednesday: Seniors
Pinch of Time
Out & About
Friday: Faith & Spirituality
Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Saturday: Family
CVPH Job Opportunities