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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - June 27, 2007

From: Ramseur, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native Ornithogalum longibracteatum (Pregnant Onion)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Sir, I have a plant called a Pregnant Onion. It looks like an onion and it has babies develop on its body and the surface peals off like an onion. It's leaves grow to about a yard long and they keep getting longer. I can find no information on it or the diseases it has. Leaves are turning orange and I have brown bug cases on the underside of the leaves. Can you help direct me and find a cure for its problem. I love the unusual and this certainly is unusual. Thanks for your time.

ANSWER:

Ornithogalum longibracteatum (pregnant onion) is a native of South Africa. Since our focus and expertise at the Wildflower Center is with natives of North America, we can't offer much help for its care. We can, however, suggest some sources who might be able to help you, such as The Pregnant Onion Club. Also, Garden Web has an extensive discussion about the plant from people who have them; and, if you do an Internet search using either the scientific name or the common name, you can find many more postings for it.

 

 

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