Flora of the Week--Allium Tuberosum

Flora of the Week--Allium Tuberosum

I'm going to shock everyone by not using a native plant as my first flora of the week.  This plant is native to Asia. It can become "an invasive weed" if not watched carefully. (Snipping off the flower heads before seeds drop can save you trouble later. However, it is an excellent culinary addition to the garden, and your local pollinators will love it--my primary reason for recommending it. Around here, it is in bloom right now.

Floridata is another terrific plant resource, especially for folks who live in Florida, as it covers those plants that survive and thrive in that state. In the commentary on this week's particular plant, Floridata describes it as successful in zones 4 - 8, drought tolerant and fast spreading.

Allium tuberosum

is hailed as having a flavor "at once sweet and garlic-like." I've always liked the look of the plant, but this year our first clump in this yard really came into its own and has provided some nice "pop" in the front of the bed. Yes, there are at least half a dozen wayward clumps that will have to be removed or transplanted. But, evidently, the flavor of the nectar is so intoxicating the buckeyes don't even leave when you walk up to the plant.  Neither do the bees. Anybody wishing to supplement the diets of the local pollinators would do well to add this particular allium.

From the moment our garlic chives erupted into bloom this summer, they have been covered in bugs. Mostly fun ones. In the top photo,

Common Buckeyes

, a

Gray Hairstreak




Common Eastern Bumblebees

(I think) were in evidence. In the bottom photo, a rather beat-up

Red Admiral

had pulled up to the counter.  These guys have been so intent on collecting nectar that I could walk up and "pet" the bumblebees. And these are just the larger specimens that I've been able to identify fairly quickly. Garlic Chives are known to attract beneficial insects and bees, so are a great addition to building a garden that requires fewer (if any) pesticides.

Garlic chives are both deer and drought resistant and even tolerate black walnut trees. In terms of design, garlic chives gives you an eighteen- to twenty-four inch tall shock of white that helps visually cool the summer heat. While other flowering plants are giving up the ghost, garlic chives are just getting started. It likes sun and thrives with average watering. Add some to your garden -- and your salad -- and spice things up!


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