Allium vineale L.

Field Garlic

Allium vineale plant

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb from a bulb.

Stems - Bulbs 1-2 cm long, ovoid to nearly globose, the outer coat smooth and papery. Aerial stems erect, to 1 m, not inflated.

Alium vineale bulbBulb with papery coating.

Allium vineale bulb
Bulb with coating removed. Arrows indicate the flat-sided propogative bulblets.

Leaves - Leaves in the lower 1/3-1/2 of the aerial stems, 10-30 cm long, 1-2 mm in diameter, terete, hollow, linear, the sheaths green to white.

Allium vineale sheathApex of leaf sheath.

Inflorescences - Terminal umbels of numerous flowers, with some or all of the flower replaced by sessile bulblets. Flower stalks much longer than the flowers.

Flowers - Perianth tubular, the sepals and petals 3-5 mm long, narrowly ovate-triangular, pointed, purplish pink to white or greenish white.

Allium vineale bulbletsBulblets of the inflorescence.

Allium vineale flowers2Flowers and bulblets.

Allium vineale flowers3Flowers.

Fruits - Capsules 3-5 mm long, narrowly ovoid, trigonous to somewhat 3-lobed, the angles or lobes with a thickened ridge.

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Disturbed sites, forest margins, pastures, cultivated fields, roadsides, railroads.

Origin - Native to Europe and Asia.

Other info. - This weedy species can be found throughout most of Missouri and is probably undercollected and more common than the dot map suggests. The plant is a pest in agricultural fields. It will impart an oniony flavor to the milk of cows which graze upon it, and the bulblets can contaminate grain harvests.

The plant resembles other species in the Allium genus, but can be confidently identified in the field by the following characteristics: round, hollow leaves which occur along the flowering stem; flowers being completely or partially replaced by bulblets; flowers, when present, tubular in shape. During the early spring this plant is seen as a mass of thin, bright green, tubular leaves. Later in the season a few main stalks will enlarge and flower. The bulblets of the inflorescence will often sprout while still on the plant, as shown in the species image above. Mature plants often have a bluish cast to the foliage.

The bulbs and leaves of A. vineale are edible when young, and have a strong garlic flavor.

Photographs taken off Providence Rd., Columbia, MO., 5-29-04 (DETenaglia); also at Robertsville State Park, Franklin County, MO, 7-4-2015 (SRTurner).


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