Chocolate Cosmos
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Chocolate Cosmos
ntroduced Herb Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Chocolate Cosmos
Botanical name: Cosmos atrosanguineus     Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)

Relatively unknown before, this tender Mexican perennial is now a fashionable summer highlight in warm borders, as much for its chocolate scent as for the dusky brownish-red blooms. It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 40-60 cm tall, with a fleshy tuberous root. The leaves are 7-15 cm long, pinnate, with leaflets 2-5 cm long. The flowers are produced in a capitulum 3-4.5 cm diameter, dark red to maroon-dark brown, with a ring of six to ten (usually eight) broad ray florets and a center of disc florets; they have a light vanillin fragrance (like many chocolates), which becomes more noticeable as the summer day wears on. It is not self-fertile, so no viable seeds are produced, and the plant has to be propagated by division of the tubers.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in cultivation in Masihgarh Church, New Delhi.

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