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Is this an onion?

Posted by plantomaniac08 8 (My Page) on
Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 17:15

I just dug this plant up from my folks' yard earlier today out of curiosity and planted it.

The bulb itself has brown papery stuff surrounding it. I didn't bother to peel the papery stuff back to see what color the actual bulb is. It almost appears as if it's offsetting already, as I've counted two small bulbs forming from the base of the Mama bulb.

I was unable to pot it as deep as it was in the ground, so there is white showing that was originally under the ground.

I'd like to know, is this an onion? My Father thinks it's an onion, but I've never seen an onion this large before. From tip to tip (leaf to leaf), it's over two feet wide.

If this isn't an onion, do you know what this is? I realize if this isn't an onion, I may need to re-post on the Bulb forum.

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Thanks so much,

This post was edited by plantomaniac08 on Sun, Feb 16, 14 at 20:59

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Is this an onion?

Onion leaves are round and hollow (tubular). This looks more like garlic.


RE: Is this an onion?

Thanks. I wasn't convinced myself that it's an onion, but I don't know much about either (onions or garlic). If and when it blooms, hopefully it'll help in determining it's ID. I have something more to go on now, thanks for your input.


RE: Is this an onion?

Have you tasted it ? Where did you get it from ? It might be something unrelated to onions.

As mentioned , it is not definitely onion. Whether or not it is garlic remains to be seen. There is also leeks that have flat leaves.

BTW, garlic does not flower. Some varieties grow bulbils.

This post was edited by seysonn on Tue, Feb 25, 14 at 8:44

RE: Is this an onion?

It could be society garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) in which case the leaves would taste and smell like garlic and you will get pink flowers eventually. The plants are real survivors, but it would be unusual to have only one, because they form clumps.

RE: Is this an onion?

I didn't taste it as I wasn't sure what it was and honestly, I'm not much for sticking things in my mouth when I don't know what they are (no offense!). I dug it up from my parent's backyard (which is full of weeds mind you, hehe, not much grass back there). It's the only one I found in the entire backyard.

I tried breaking part of the leaf off, just the tip, to see if it emitted an odor, but it smelled like nothing. I didn't smell anything from the bulb either when I gave it a sniff.

That's good to know it's not an onion, that narrows it down a little bit. I guess if it doesn't flower, that could very well help in IDing it as well. It will definitely point to garlic if bulbils form (I do understand just some do this though so that may not happen).

I did rub the leaves a little bit in addition to cutting a piece off, but no odor was emitted from either action.

This was indeed the only one I found, although it does appear to be offsetting already (I don't know the proper term for "baby bulbs," but I found two smallish bulbs attached to the "Mama bulb").

Thanks both for your information, I wish I had more to provide (a picture of the bulb probably would have helped). *dagnabbit*

How likely is it for a garlic or leek even to just appear in someone's backyard like this? My folks have been living in their house for almost 25 years and neither has planted a garden in the back (nor have either of the neighbors).


RE: Is this an onion?

It was a good idea not to taste something you couldn't identify. If it does not have an oniony or garlicy smell, you likely have something else...who knows what!?! A flower would help with ID. Maybe you'll get one later

RE: Is this an onion?

I don't know if anyone is still following this post but thanks for those who replied. I completely forgot about my post. :/ Whatever it was that I dug up didn't survive the transplant and died a few weeks later. Thanks for trying to help me identify it.


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