Recently passing through Western Texas and Southern New Mexico, I by chance ran into a fellow Master Naturalist based near Albuquerque who told me all about the chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) a member of the aster family of native North Americans wildflowers. I was thrilled to have someone to talk shop with outside and under the bright New Mexican sun, while shaking off the morning chill with a shared pot of desert camp coffee – so far from my childhood home near the Florida Everglades, and my current home in the Pacific Northwest. Click on any image to enlarge or learn more.

Chocolate Daisy

Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata)

As expected, our conversation quickly focused on what was most interesting, right now, right in front of us. That very moment’s point of interest (among many that day) was the Chocolate Daisy (Berlandiera lyrata) that was everywhere in bloom among the various cacti right literally in front of our toes. In fact, I’d been seeing it for the past few days all over Western Texas, I just didn’t know what it was called. The best thing – she picked one of these daisies and asked me to tell her the first thing that I smelled when she lifted the flower to my nose…..it was just like… milk chocolate!!!!

Chocolate Daisy

This wonderfully attractive one-inch, desert-loving daisy is found throughout much of the American Southwest where it blooms year-round as long as it doesn’t come in contact with frost. Best seen in the morning hours, this local member of the aster family begins to droop in the midday heat. Want to know something amazing about this particular flower? It smells just like chocolate! These were photographed in the Chihuahuan Desert in rural Socorro County, New Mexico while I was searching to horned lizards.

Chocolate Daisy Map(range map of Berlandiera lyrata)

source – USDA

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy

Chocolate daisies photographed literally at the edge of town in Van Horn, West Texas.

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy

 

Chocolate Daisy


Chocolate Daisy

                                                                                          

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Rich Leighton
October 12, 2015
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