Very old heirloom flower, known to have been grown in the 1700's. Towers of deep deep maroon flowers that look like black with reddish highlights. Easy plants to grow; while they are tall (to 7 feet) they don't need staking unless in a very windy place. A striking plant that always attracts comment. Really pops with other colors--looks great with cream/yellow/orange red, and looks equally great with pink/lavender/purple/blue. Exotic and fun edible flower. Blooms second year from seed, or can be started very early indoors for same-year bloom. Hardy to zone 3. Prefers a well-drained location.