Chocolate Lily (aka. Nodding Chocolate Lily, Dichopogon strictus) gets its name from its chocolate scented flowers. Its bush food value, however, comes mainly from its juicy tubers, which can be eaten raw or cooked. This species is found in grassland, woodland and forest regions of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria.
The Chocolate Lily’s edible tubers usually grow to around 3.5cm in length, around 15cm below the surface. Raw tubers are slightly sweet and best eaten when young, as they become bitter over time. Like other varieties of tuber vegetables, they’re are delicious just lightly roasted with a bit of salt of butter. The fragrant flowers are also edible, and may be added to salads or used as decorative toppings for cakes, biscuits and tarts.
Tubers are ready for harvest when the plant is in bloom (September — December), producing blue-violet flowers that smell remarkably of chocolate (sometimes with vanilla or caramel notes). If left unharvested, the plant will go briefly dormant over late Summer and reshoot the following Autumn.
Chocolate Lily is found in the wild in sandy soil areas with low rainfall, but for best results at home, use a rich and loamy soil, and water well when the plant reshoots. Grow in full sun or part shade in a garden bed or pot at least 20cm deep, allowing room for the tubers to develop.
As an ornamental, this attractive plant is suitable for mass plantings, as well as adding beautiful pops of colour to rockeries and paved spaces.
Can Chocolate Lily tuber roots grow big like sweet potatoes?
Not typically. Chocolate Lily tubers generally grow up to 3.5cm in length, but one plant can produce many tubers in a season.
Can I grow a Chocolate Lily indoors?
It’s possible, but remember that a plant living in a pot will depend entirely on you for its growth. If you intend to harvest the roots for food, be sure to choose a large pot with enough room for the tubers to grow. Choose a sunny spot near a window, and be careful not to overwater when the plant is dormant.
What pests and diseases is Chocolate Lily susceptible to?
No known pests and diseases.