Berlandiera lyrata

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Chocolate Flower - Berlandiera lyrata 
North Wicks Canyon
East of Hillsboro, NM, USA
March 21, 2017 & September 1, 2015

On September 1, 2015 we were still finding blooming Chocolate Flower, Berlandiera lyrata, along  the North Wicks Canyon Trail, East of Hillsboro.  Another English Common Name for this species is Green Eyes, because of the green central disc which becomes even more obvious after the petals fall off the plant.  Other English Common Names for this species are Chocolate Daisy and Green-eyed Lyre Leaf.  This species was known by the synonym, B. incisa, as it was described by John Torrey and Asa Gray.  George Bentham is the person who described the species as B. lyrata.  The scientific name of this species honors Jean-Louis Berlandier who was a French naturalist who collected plant specimens in Texas and Mexico in the first half of the 1800’s.  He also recorded information about the Indigenous Tribes of that area and in 1848 was appointed to the (first) International Boundary Commission which defined the border between the United States and Mexico. 

The stamens of this species are said to have a chocolate flavor and are edible (North American indigeonous peoples used this plant for medicinal purposes and as a spice).  If the flowers are picked from the plant they often exude a chocolate fragrance.

The range of the Chocolate Flower is shown in the United States, to the right.  The light green color means that the species is native and not rare in the referenced county.  It is also found as far south as Jalisco in Mexico.  The range map courtesy of The Biota of North America Program (BONAP)

The red and dark structures with  orange stems protruding from them are the disc flowers of this species, the “petals” are called ray flowers.

In 1889, another (temporary) International Boundary Commission was formed.  It is for that Commission that Edgar A. Mearns did most of his collecting.  He collected the specimen of Chocolate Flower shown below on May 9, 1892 at Monument 40.  The photograph below was made by D. H. Payne and is entitled “Rebuilding Monument 40”, the original image is maintained by the National Archives of the United States.

On the 21st of March of 2017 we found many Chocolate Flower, Berlandiera lyrata, in bloom along the old mining road which runs up North Wick's canyon, east of Hillsboro.  Some, however, were not in full flower.  When viewed from behind this species is rather dramatic at this stage of development, see photo below.  


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© Robert Barnes 2018