‘Chocolate’ is a cultivar of a native perennial introduced by the Mt. Cuba Center in 1994. Mounds of attractive dark bronze-purple leaves with deep purple stems provide contrast to puffy clouds of fragrant white flower clusters. Coarsely toothed, somewhat heart-shaped leaves may age to dark green. Fascinating flowers if you take the time to look at them closely. There are no ray flowers, only disk flowers that appear “fluffy” because of the extended style.
Spreads by seeds and rhizomes. It is a prolific self-seeder, but the seedlings do not have the consistent purple foliage color of the parent.
Thrives in moist soil and part shade. (In the wild, the straight species typically grows in semi-shaded woodlands in the understory vegetation.) Leaves are more purple in full sun but adequate moisture is needed to keep the leaves from scorching. Must have good drainage.
All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.
Supports beneficial insects.
Height: 3-4 ft.
Spread: 2-3 ft.
Bloom time: early September to October
Sun: full sun to part shade
Water: medium, consistent
Deer and rabbit resistant
photo credit: Walters Gardens Inc.