Monday, September 7, 2015


When I posted the photograph of my Texas fishhook barrel cactus, Ferocactus hamatacanthus, earlier this week I was totally unaware of its most amazing perfume. Today the air in the front garden was filled with this incredible fragrance. Unable to find any likely candidate I bent down very carefully to smell the blooms on the cactus and sure enough I found the source. I can only guess that it was a combination of the dense humid air coupled with temperature that favored us with such an overwhelming fragrance.

The blooms have lasted 4 days, although they are now beginning to fade.

Then in another part of the garden a different fragrance. This time one of sweet almonds. The Blackfoot daisy, Melampodium leucanthum, is putting on a show in more ways than one.

It is probably a good thing that my chocolate flowers, Berlandiera lyrata, are confined to the back garden because I think the mix would be a little overwhelming. On a warm humid morning you would think that there was a Cadbury factory in the neighborhood. At other times you might have to kneel down and get close to the flower for your chocolate fix. But make sure you do it in the morning because by mid-day the flowers will have closed.

I'm sure there are many more native flowers with a pleasant fragrance. Do you have any blooming this September? I'd love to hear about them.


  1. Beautiful, and interesting that you can get scents like chocolate from a plant!

  2. Yum... I have to try the Blackfoot daisy and chocolate flower now - they sound so enticing! Here the most fragrant thing at the moment are the tuberoses. The other night I heard the downstairs neighbors walk around the corner of the garden from my window and the lady was saying to her husband, "Something here is very fragrant at night, very sweet. But I cannot figure out what it is!" I will have to point out the blooming tuberoses to her next time we are both in the garden at the same time.

  3. I'm definitely planting Berlandiera lyrata for next year -- I miss it even though I only grew it for one year! My most fragrant plant right now is the native Passiflora incarnata. Not food-scented, but so nice right now!

  4. I credit (blame?) you and Pam of Digging both for enticing me into multiple close encounters of the nasal kind lately. I kept reading how fragrant Datura are but never could catch the scent, at least not until there were great numbers of flowers all open at once.

    I'd never noticed any aroma from blackfoot daisies before - their low growth habit and position in a breezy corridor took care of that. What I did notice for the very first time a few weeks ago was how pleasant coneflowers smell. A blossom had broken off and I was taking it to put in a tiny vase in the kitchen window when I absent mindedly put it up to my nose to sniff. It was delightful. Fresh and enticing and delicate all at once.

    Along more pronounced lines, the Texas Kidney wood (Eysenhardtia texana) out back is in full blossom, and the perfume there is luring all sorts of attention. Even my son's dog, over for a visit this past weekend, was drawn to it. I think the common name in Spanish, Vara Dulce (sweet staff) says it all. (Now I'm going out before it gets any later in the day to kneel before the Blackfoot daises and....sniff!)

  5. My 2nd to last year at the old house, I had that same cactus finally bloom. But no fragrance. And thankfully no humidity like your's. Chocolate flowers always reliable in the scent department, though.