Swan necked mystery allium, what is it?

led_zep_rules(5 WI)August 26, 2005

I have these odd looking things growing in front of my house. I am sure they are alliums based on their appearance and tasting a seed (tiny bulb). But I have NO idea what they are. We have had them the 2 years we have lived here, previous owner (Mom) doesn't remember seeing them. Please, can anyone help?

They look sort of like corn or grass when they first come up, green with individual side leaves separated by some space. Then the top bit gets really tall and swoops over horizontally and makes a puffy white bloom that has a green point coming out of it. Overall it looks sort of like the neck and head of a swan in terms of curve and shape.

The white bloom part is now drying and crumbling and is full of tiny bulbs (like onions have.) I ate one yesterday, and it was sort of garlic chive-y tasting. Any idea what it could be? It is very interesting looking, so please look at the photo link and tell me what it could be.

Thanks, Marcia

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo of my mystery allium

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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

From what I see, your mystery allium is simply a hardneck garlic. Dig it up and you've possibly got a divided bulb or loose cloves under there. Plant those little bulbils back about 3 weeks from now. If all goes well, you'll get the same results next year.


    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 10:40PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Hi Martin,

I thought maybe it was garlic from the taste of the seed/bulbs. But I looked up photos of garlic blooming (on the internet) and found the purple spherical sort of blooms that many alliums have. So I decided that wasn't it, since these are so different. My garlic has never looked like that, or maybe mine never bloomed.

I plant what I eat from the store if it sprouts, and it never looks like this, although I have no idea what variety those were either. It is funny if this is garlic, the stuff I try to grow is never this large and vigorous.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 1:06AM
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paquebot(Z-4b WI)

The garlic that you buy in the stores is a softneck. That normally does not send up a scape and may only get a few feet tall. Some hardnecks can get over 6' tall. There's also two basic types of hardneck bulbil clusters. One will have large bulbils such as your variety. The other will have tiny ones which cause the cluster to look like it may be an onion blossom or seed head.


    Bookmark   August 27, 2005 at 11:05AM
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There are some weed alliums (wild garlic) that do the same thing and that may well be what you have. Be aware that these spread and are very difficult to eradicate.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2005 at 5:35PM
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