Another day, another plant with a name that’s flip-flopped back-and-forth for nearly half a century. Chocolate lily (to Australians–that name means something else to North Americans) has been known as both Dichopogon strictus and Arthropodium strictum over the years.
Though many still use Arthropodium strictum, I’ve opted to use the name suggested by the Census of Australian Vascular Plants. The differences between the two genera are explained in a page on the genus by the Pacific Bulb Society (don’t forget to check out the image of its roots, quite unique).
This species is native to southeastern Australia and northern Tasmania. Unlike the North American chocolate lily, which is described as having an “odour not unpleasant” in the Flora of North America, the Australians sagely call this chocolate lily because it smells like chocolate. I do admit some curiousity in that the scent is sometimes also described as being that of vanilla; I’ve made a similar association of “smells like chocolate or vanilla” with the South American shrub Azara microphylla (to be featured on BPotD sometime before mid-March). I don’t know enough about scents to discern whether the two smells are chemically related in some manner. However, while researching it, I did find this interesting article: Vanilla patch cures sweet tooth: “Scientists have come up with a way to beat chocolate addiction–a vanilla-scented patch.”. It seems like there is some sort of relation, at the least. If you happen to know that the chemistry of these two scents is somehow similar, please add a comment.
Botany resource link: Trillium and the Trillium Family – if only information on all genera would be so handily gathered and organized!