Herb: Dahlia

Latin name: Dahlia pinnata

Synonyms: Dahlia variabilis

Family: Compositae

Edible parts of Dahlia:

The flower petals are used in salads. Root - cooked and used as a vegetable. A bitter flavour. A sweet extract of the tuber, called "dacopa", is used as a beverage or as a flavouring. It is mixed with hot or cold water and sprinkled on ice cream. Its naturally sweet mellow taste is said to combine the characteristics of coffee, tea and chocolate. The root is rich in the starch inulin. Whilst not absorbed by the body, this starch can be converted into fructose, a sweetening substance suitable for diabetics to use.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Rich damp oak and pine woods at elevations around 1,800 metres.

Other uses of Dahlia:

An orange dye is obtained from the flowers and seed heads.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow late winter to mid spring in a greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 weeks at 20C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of young shoots in early spring. The tubers are usually brought into the greenhouse in late winter in order to encourage early growth and young basal shoots are removed as soon as they are large enough. Division. The roots are usually harvested in the autumn. These can be divided into individual tubers when planting out in the spring. Each portion should have a growing point.

Cultivation of Dahlia:

Rich damp oak and pine woods at elevations around 1,800 metres.

Medicinal use of the herb:

None known

Known hazards of Dahlia pinnata:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.