Mysterious, alluring, and uncommon--plants that bear black flowers were one of the most desirable to possess in a Victorian-era landscape. The love of rare flower colors, including brown or cobalt blue, finds gardeners seeking plant species or cultivars of plants that produce blooms that are so saturated with purple or red pigments that the petals seem black. Depending on light, the underlying tones that create the blackish flower can be identified.
Black Bat Flower
With a whirl of common names like black cat's whiskers, devil's flower, black beauty, and tiger's whiskers, the black bat flower (Tacca chantrierei) is a tropical perennial native to monsoonal rainforests in southeastern Asia. The flowers are nodding and bell-shaped, ranging in color from black to deep maroon-black or bronze-black. The floral display is accentuated since the small flowers are surrounded by four leaf-life bracts of the same color.
Two species of irises, Iris chrysographes Iris nigricans, are known as black irises. With light green spear-like leaves arranged in a fan, the flower stalks are upright and held just above the leaf tops. The blooms are a black with hints of dark purple, revealing what pigments are present to create such a dark-colored blossom. The bearded iris variety named "Superstition" also yields flowers that are a dark violet-maroon that visually looks black.
The Flower and Plant Association of the United Kingdom recommends looking for these varieties if you want the darkest colored roses (Rosa spp.) in your garden: "Black Magic", Barkarole", Black Beauty" and "Baccara". In reality these plants produce flowers that are rich in dark red pigments creating the illusion of black shades.
Queen of the Night Tulip
From a distance the flower of the single late season-type tulip (Tulipa spp.) named "Queen of the Night" is a black. Upon close inspection you see the tones of dark maroon and deep purple pigments that combine to create the dark petals.
Black Beauty Hollyhock
Easy to grow from seed, the hollyhock (Alcea rosea) variety named "Black Beauty" displays large saucer-shaped black flowers on a tall flower spike. A deep chocolate-maroon pigment combination creates the blackish petals that are in contrast to the medium green leaves and stems of this hollyhock.
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