Wild Garlic

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Wild Garlic

(Allium vineale)

Interesting Information About Plant:

Allium vineale, most commonly known as ‘wild garlic’ and often confused with ‘wild onion,’ has a strong onion or garlic odor when crushed, and when consumed by cattle impart a disagreeable flavor to their meat and milk products. Similarly, aerial bulbils can contaminate wheat by altering the taste to have a slight flavor of onion or garlic.  It is in leaf from October to August, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. The plant is self-fertile.  It prefers light; it cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.Leaves - raw or cooked. Rather stringy, they are used as a garlic substitute. The leaves are available from late autumn until the following summer, when used sparingly they make a nice addition to the salad bowl.
Bulb - used as a flavoring. Rather small, with a very strong flavor and odor. The bulbs are 10 - 20mm in diameter.
Bulbils - raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly, they have a strong garlic-like flavor.          Although it is not a proven remedy to these ailments, there is some evidence for the use of ‘wild garlic’ to treat the following illnesses:                                                                       Anti-asthmatic; Blood purifier; Carminative; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stimulant; Vasodilator.

The whole plant is a(n) anti-asthmatic, blood purifier, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, stimulant and vasodilator. A dye is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup. The raw root can be eaten to reduce blood pressure and also to ease shortness of breath.
Although no other specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavor) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system, and also tonify the circulatory system.           The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. The juice of the plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to repel biting insects, scorpions etc.  

Common Name: Wild garlic

Scientific Name: Allium wineale

Family Name (Scientific and Common): Liliaceae

Continent of Origin: Europe and Asia

Most Distinguishing Morphological Features of This Plant: Round hollow leaves and garlic-like odor

Plant Growth Habit: Upright Herbaceous

Height at Maturity: Between 1- 3 Feet

Life Span: Perennial

Seasonal Habit: Herbaceous That Stays Green Through Winter

Growth Habitat: Full Sun  /  Partial Sun  

Manner of Culture: Weed

Thorns on Younger Stem?  No

Cross Section of Younger Stem: Roundish

Stem (or Trunk) Diameter: Less Than The Diameter of a Pencil

Produces Brownish Bark? No

Bark Peeling in Many Areas?  No

Characteristics of Mature (Brownish) Bark: No Mature Bark (all green)

Type of Leaf: hollow tubular leaf

Length of Leaf (or Leaflet): Longer Than a Writing Pen

Leaf Complexity: Simple  

Shape of Leaf: Simple 

Edge of Leaf: Smooth

Leaf Arrangement: Whorled (3 or more leaves per node)

Leaf has Petiole?  No

Patterns of Main-Veins: Parallel  

Leaf Hairiness: No Hairs

Color of Foliage in Summer: Green

Change in Color of Foliage in October:  No Change

Flowering Season:  Summer

Flowers: Tightly Clustered 

Type of Flower:  Like a Grass Flower

Color of Flower:  White, Red, Pink, Purple-Violet, or Green

Shape of Individual Flower: Other

Size of Individual Flower: Smaller than a Quarter

Sexuality: Hermaphroditic Flower

Size of Fruit: Smaller than a Quarter

Fruit Fleshiness at Maturity: Dry

Shape of Fruit:  Oblong-Oval

Color of Fruit at Maturity: Green

Fruit Desirable to Birds or Squirrels?  No    

Unique Morphological Features of Plant: Round to egg-shaped bulbs with outer papery covering.  Flowers replaced by bulblets in Spring, reproduction occurs upon redistribution of these bulblets. 

Is the Plant Poisonous: All of Plant; in large quantities, dogs particularly susceptible.

Pesty Plant (weedy, hard to control)? Yes

Common Name(s): ‘wild garlic,’ ‘crow garlic,’ ‘field garlic,’ ‘scallions,’ (commonly confused with ‘wild onion’).

Louisville Plants That Are Most Easily Confused With This One: ‘wild onion’ (Allium canadense), ‘Star of Bethlehem’ (Ornithogalum umbellatum), ‘Starch Grape Hyacinth’ (Muscari racemosum).

Page prepared by:

Emily Whitledge

December, 2006


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