Allium triquetrum Alliaceae Stinking Onions

Close up Picture 2 Along road bank

Allium triquetrum 21kb

Description - White flowers, each petal with a thin, green stripe down the centre, 4-10 per flower head. Once open they tend to hang down, so you need to lift them to see the beauty of each flower. The flower stems are unusual in being triangular in section. Leaves are keeled, green, and hairless, and the whole plant smells strongly of onions or garlic. Small white bulbs just beneath the surface ensure that the plant spreads rapidly and invasively in your garden! Plants reach c. 45cm.

Habitat - A very tolerant plant being found on the cliffs, around the coast, on arable land, in gardens and parks, but seen best all along the bottom of the hedgebanks in early May, when a white band of these flowers can be seen throughout the island.

Comment - This plant comes from the Mediterranean, and the first record in the British Isles comes from Guernsey in 1847. Even at that time, it was reported as "abundant in the hedges all over Guernsey" (Salwey). It was not noted anywhere else for 16 years. It has spread since then to the South of England, and is a terrible weed in the Scilly Isles. It can be used for cooking, leaves chopped in salad, and the bulbs used as ordinary garlic; the flavour is milder.

La Société Guernesiaise Guernsey Biological Records Centre Botany Section Species list Previous Species Next Species