Allium vineale

Crow Garlic
Binomial:Allium vineale
Seed Dispersal:Dropping
Ripe Seed:late summer
Vegetative Spread:clumping

Allium vineale (Crow Garlic) is a perennial bulb in the genus Allium, native to Europe, north Africa and western Asia, but present elsewhere as an invasive weed of gardens, woodlands, and lawns.

Description edit

All parts of the plant have a strong garlic odor. The underground bulb is 1–2 cm diameter, with a fibrous outer layer. The main stem grows to 30–120 cm tall, bearing 2-4 leaves and an apical inflorescence 2–5 cm diameter comprising a number of small bulbils and none to a few flowers, subtended by a basal bract. The leaves are slender, hollow. and tubular, 15–60 cm long and 2–4 mm thick, waxy textured, with a groove along the side of the leaf facing the stem. The flowers are 2–5 mm long, with six petals varying in colour from pink to red or greenish-white. It flowers in the summer, June to August in northern Europe. Plants with no flowers, only bulbils, are sometimes distinguished as the variety Allium vineale var. compactum, but this character is probably not taxonomically significant.

Ecology edit

It is a weed in grain fields, as grain products may become tainted with a garlic odor or flavour in the presence of aerial bulblets at the time of harvest. Wild garlics is resistant to herbicides due to the structure of its leaves, being vertical, smooth and waxy. Herbicides do not cling well to it and are therefore not as effective.

The species is introduced in Australia and North America, where it has become an invasive species.

Uses edit

Crow Garlic can be used as a substitute for garlic. It imparts a garlic-like flavour and odor on dairy and beef products when grazed by livestock.

Control edit

  • Mowing: Ineffective.
  • Cultivation: Difficult, as the roots tend to be deep. Tilling only serves to make more plants.
  • Mulching (for prevention): Ineffective.
  • Pulling: Difficult but effective. A weeding tool should be used to get the deep roots, which are bulbs.
  • Flame: Ineffective.
  • Barriers: Effective.
  • Grazing: Goats.
  • Disposal: Hot compost piles only, a the bulbs will survive in cold piles.