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Allium vineale - L.
                 
Common Name Crow Garlic, Wild garlic, Compact onion, False Garlic, Wild, Onion
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Fields and roadsides to elevations of 450 metres in Britain, often a serious weed of pastures[17].
Range Much of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa and Lebanon.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary
A perennial, bulb-forming species wild onions, native to Europe, northwestern Africa and the Middle East. All parts of the plant have a strong garlic odour. The underground bulb is 1-2 cm diameter. Other Common Names: English: field garlic; wild garlic; wild onion. Spanish: ajito de las vinas; ajo cimarron. French: ail des vignes. Portuguese: alho-das-vinhas. Germany: Weinberg- Lauch. Italy: aglio delle vigne. Netherlands: kraailook. Sweden: sandloek.

Allium vineale Crow Garlic, Wild garlic, Compact onion, False Garlic, Wild, Onion


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium vineale Crow Garlic, Wild garlic, Compact onion, False Garlic, Wild, Onion
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium vineale is a BULB growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 8-Oct It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms

Habitats
 Meadow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Leaves - raw or cooked[5, 177]. Rather stringy, they are used as a garlic substitute[2, 12, K]. The leaves are available from late autumn until the following summer, when used sparingly they make a nice addition to the salad bowl[8, 183, K]. Bulb - used as a flavouring[105, 161, 177]. Rather small, with a very strong flavour and odour[183]. The bulbs are 10 - 20mm in diameter[200]. Bulbils - raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly, they have a strong garlic-like flavour[K].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antiasthmatic;  Blood purifier;  Carminative;  Cathartic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Stimulant;  Vasodilator.


The whole plant is antiasthmatic, blood purifier, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, stimulant and vasodilator[20, 257]. A tincture is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup[257]. The raw root can be eaten to reduce blood pressure and also to ease shortness of breath[257]. 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 flavour) 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[K].
Other Uses
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20]. The juice of the plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to repel biting insects, scorpions etc[257].
Cultivation details
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. This species is a pernicious weed of grassland in Britain[1], spreading freely by means of its bulbils[203]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Propagation
Plants do not need any encouragement, they are more than capable of propagating themselves. Bulbils are produced in abundance in the summer and are the main means by which the plant spreads.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Possibly a noxious weed in parts of Australia, North America (esp. Arkansas, California, Hawaii), and Kenya.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Allium acuminatumHooker's Onion, Tapertip onion32
Allium aflatunensePersian Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Allium akaka 32
Allium altaicum 32
Allium ampeloprasumWild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek53
Allium ampeloprasum babingtoniiBabington's Leek33
Allium angulare 32
Allium angulosumMouse Garlic32
Allium atropurpureum 32
Allium bisceptrumAspen Onion, Twincrest onion32
Allium bodeanum 32
Allium bolanderiBolander's Onion32
Allium brevistylumShortstyle Onion32
Allium canadenseCanadian Garlic, Meadow garlic, Fraser meadow garlic, Hyacinth meadow garlic42
Allium canadense mobilenseCanadian Garlic52
Allium carinatumKeeled Garlic32
Allium carolinianum 32
Allium cepaOnion, Garden onion53
Allium cepa aggregatumPotato Onion43
Allium cepa ascalonicumShallot53
Allium cepa proliferumTree Onion53
Allium cernuumNodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion52
Allium chinenseRakkyo42
Allium condensatum 32
Allium cupanii 32
Allium douglasiiDouglas' Onion32
Allium dregeanumWild Onion32
Allium drummondiiPrairie Onion, Drummond's onion32
Allium fistulosumWelsh Onion52
Allium flavumSmall Yellow Onion, Ornamental Onion22
123
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Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
17200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Michael J. Orlove D.I.C., D. Phil Sun, 25 Jul 1999
Universe! Dear Rich, 24-July-1999

I discovered your page with the following URL:

http://www.scs.leeds.ac.uk/pfaf/onions.html

In it you made reference to Allium ursinum, as "wild garlic". I always thought A. ursinum was a rare species in North American woods, and that in Britain and North America the term was usually applied to A vineale. It is also applied to A. canadesne as you know, and also feral populations of A. sativum whose origin in the New world is considered mysterious, Native Americans and early White settlers have both been suspected of introducing it, or possibly it spread on its own without human agency (which I doubt). A. vineale is a tubular leaved species but it is much more closely related to A. ampeloprasum, A. sativum, A., scorodoprasum, A. shaeonoprasum, and A. rosem than to A. cepa, or A. fistulosum. It is the one that is a pest in wheatfields because of the similarity of its bulbils in shape and density to wheat kernels, making mechanical separation very difficult.

what has fascinated me so much about A. vineale is its extreme variation in umbel contents even within a local population. some plants have flowers some bulbils, and some both. When bulbils are few or absent in the umbel, the blossoms are VERY showy --being companulate instead of ovatge.

At such times they are purple instead of green. The very showy form is known as A. V. capsuliferum in reference to its seed capsules. the half and half (bulbils and blossoms) form is called A. V. typicum, and the all bulbil one is A. v. compactgum. Two dark pigmented bulbilforms are also described, one reproduces like compactum, and is called A. v. fuscescens, and the other appears to have viviparous bulbils, but the "sprouts" are actually non-vestigal blades on scale leaves on the bulbils, and is known as A. v. crinitum. crinitum usually has one or 2 ovate flowers per umbel which are lavender or purple in color. All sorts of intermediates exist between these forms. Here in Ithaca fuscescens-like ones have flowers, and crinitum like ones don't or crinitum like ones will have many flowers and viable flowers with many capsuls forming.

I once found a clump of capsuliferum surrounded by a vast field of hundreds and thousands of typicum. Those typicum near the capliferum had purple flowers like the capsuliferum, but the ones farther out had the green flowers typical of typicum. The blossoms of this species are usually visited by tiny ants, sweat bees, or nothing at all, but the capsuliferum where being actively and aggressively visited by large bumblebees (Bombus pennsylvanicus --a large pocket maker, related to the British species B agrorum, but as big as B. terristris). Large paper wasps (Polistes fuscatus) were equally present and interested in the nectar.

An article by Hugo Iltis in the 1940's (it was either in Scientific Monthly or Atlantic Monthly) claimed that this showy capsuliferum form made it as far north a as North Carolina, and . v. typicum was as good as you could get in the Northeast.

Nevertheless this wonderful clump of capsuliferum I found was in the Bronx! that was in 1979, and it continued to persist there until 1983. could this have been global warming? the real question was this capsuliferum more related to the non - sexual nonspecific neighbors around it, or capsuliferum in N. Ccarolina? did it evolve denovo from non-sexual or less sexual forms?

Many biologists say it is a mystery how sex evolved to begin with (the origin - of- sex question" and it is equally a mystery how sex stays in the population and doesn't get selected against (the maintenance - of -sex question). John Maynard Smith (at the University of Susex), Goeffrey Parker (University of Liverpool), and George Williams (University of the State of New York at Stonybrook) have become famous elucidating and trying to solve this mystery. It seems that mating with a stranger may further the fitness of your offspring, but it appears not enough to justify throwing half-of your genes away, as a female does when mating. Plants with both cleistogamous and chasmogamous flowers, like Violo sp., Impatiens capensis (Orange balsam), and I. noli-tangeri (touch-me-not), and the very similar North American I. palida, not to mention the hog peanut, Amphicarpaea xxx, present a similar example of this mystery.

What are your thoughts on this issue? How far north does A. v. capsuliferum make it in Britain? I have found capsuliferum in Interlaken, N. Y. Near Ithaca, N. Y. where Cornell University is, but these ones were not as tall or showy as the ones from the much warmer Bronx. but they were capsuliferum, and made good seed. I have 2 accessions of them, one from a bulbil, and the other from a seed collected from the same umbel in Interlaken.

I have been unable to get them to blossom or even bolt with bulbils in my garden, just getting non scapigqarous growth every spring.

There is some folklore in this country that A. vineale takes on its capsuliferum form when in the vacinity of an underground stream, and dowsers exploit the information provided by the occurrence of the plant in particular instances.

Well I must go now, Please forgive my sloppy typing, I am disabled and it takes me eons to proofread things. Incidentally, are you in Cornwall, or Yorkshire?

Some day I will, if I only live, compare the DNA of different forms of A. V. vineale from different locations. the Bronx material seems to be now absent from the original site, I have been back 3 times over the years, and the material I collected now exists as seed in cold storage, but I lack access to it over a technicality (it was shipped to another storage facility instead to Harvard where I was going to grow it out, due to an accident, and it would take a very large sum to recover it, as well as the permission of the person who became its accidental owner who is not willing to release it to me. this is very frustrating.

sincerely yours,

Michael J. Orlove D.I.C., D. Phil

Elizabeth H.
peter c horn Sun Jan 22 2006
re: first paragraph of Dr Orlove's comments. Allium ursinum is a native plant in England, with common names of 'Wild garlic' and 'Ramsons.' Allium vineale, the troublesome weed of cultivated land, is called 'Wild Onion' or 'Crow garlic.'
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Subject : Allium vineale  

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