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, Tasmania and Victoria.
It features pretty little purple and white flowers, and rather excitingly we have them growing on our farm in South Australia. The tiny white and purple flowers have a strong caramel and chocolate perfume in the springtime, as well as edible roots.
The Chocolate Lily is a member of the Asparagus family, which fits well with its use as a raw or roasted root vegetable used by the First Australians. Though it’s not the root but its edible flower that has a chocolate scent.
◎ Common Name: Chocolate Lily, Vanilla Lily
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Anthropodium strictum; Anthropodium milleflorum
◎ Comparison: Chocolate, caramel & vanilla notes
◎ Seasonality: Rare
◎ Region: Southern Coastal
◎ Taste Profile: The edible flower itself has the scent of chocolate and caramel, but it is the tubers, which are juicy and slightly bitter in taste, that were eaten by Indigenous Australians.
◎ Types: Dichopogon strictus (syn. Arthropodium strictum), commonly known as Chocolate Lily, is a herbaceous perennial plant species native to Australia. Other varieties can be found in North America, commonly known as Rice Root, and appearing darker in colour.
- The flowers were digested and used to cleanse the blood by Indigenous Australians.
- Produces a delightful chocolate/caramel scent in your home or garden.
- The root tubers can be eaten.
Traditional Aboriginal Food and Uses
Aboriginal people ate the tubers from the nodding chocolate lily. The tubers were best eaten after they had been roasted on the fire but could be eaten raw. The flowers were digested and helped to cleanse the blood.
Western & Modern
This perennial herb holds a few tasty secrets. Its flower has a chocolate scent that makes a great addition to salads, and you can roast its tubers for a treat that tastes like hot chips.
When harvested young, the tubers of this native lily are juicy and sweet. Flowers are lilac coloured with a chocolate scent and are also edible.
There are no know medicinal uses associated with this plant.
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble