Growing Dahlberg Daisy (Dahlbergia grandiflora) is one of the most popular flowers in our garden. They are very easy to grow and produce beautiful blooms year after year. There are many varieties of Dahlberg Daisy, but they all have the same basic characteristics: a long stem with multiple leaves at their tips; a pinkish or purple color; and small white dots on each leaflet.
The Dahlberg Daisy is native to North America and was introduced into Europe in the late 1800’s. Most of them were grown commercially until the 1970’s when they became rare due to over-harvesting. The last wild populations still exist in Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America.
A few years ago I read a book called “Wild Flowers of California” by William Lutz. It had a chapter on Dahlberg Daisy. In it he mentioned that there are two different types of Dahlberg Daisy. One type grows in the mountains near Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park and is known as the Mountain Dahlberg Daisy.
The other type grows in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is known as the Valley Dahlberg Daisy. Both types are edible, but they’re not exactly alike!
The Mountain or High-Country Dahlberg Daisy (Dahlbergia magnifica) is found in the rocky, dry slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between 5,500 and 9,000 feet. It’s flowers are slightly larger than the Valley Type and its leaves have fewer but longer leaflets. The Mountain Type has a stronger taste than the Valley Type and its petals do not fall off as easily when it blooms.
The Valley or Low-Country Dahlberg Daisy (Dahlbergia Parishii) is found in the foothills and valleys at elevations between 2,500 and 6,000 feet. Its flowers are slightly smaller than the Mountain Type and its leaves have more but shorter leaflets. The petals of the Valley Type fall off more easily when it blooms and has a milder taste than the Mountain Type.
The flowers of the Mountain and Valley Types can be eaten either raw or cooked. They taste a bit like a cross between an artichoke and a jicama. They can be eaten straight off the plant or they can be peeled and the inner portion eaten. The petals and sepals (outer leaves surrounding the base of the flower) can be eaten as well.
The roots should not be eaten.
You can also use the Mountain and Valley Types to make a wine.
How To Identify And Gather Dahlberg Daisies: Look for plants with multiple blooms in full or partial sunlight. They like sandy or gravelly soil. They have a short, thick rhizome (underground stem or root) that produces multiple shoots (small stems coming up from the ground). Each shoot will have between one and four leaves.
Sources & references used in this article:
Your Midwest Garden by J Riggenbach – 2013 – digitalcommons.unl.edu
Growing home: Stories of ethnic gardening by SD Price – 2000 – books.google.com
The richness of everyday moments: Bringing visibility to the qualities of care within pedagogical spaces by S Mitchelmore, S Degotardi, A Fleet – Under-three Year Olds in Policy and …, 2017 – Springer
Landscaping with Annuals: Storey’s Country Wisdom Bulletin A-108 by A Reilly – 1989 – books.google.com
Carolinas getting started garden guide: Grow the best flowers, shrubs, trees, vines & groundcovers by T Bost – 2014 – books.google.com
The Complete Guide to Growing Vegetables, Flowers, Fruits, and Herbs from Containers: Everything You Need to Know Explained Simply by L Shepherd – 2011 – books.google.com