En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - June 25, 2006

From: Eudora, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Wild onions and garlic in Genus Allium
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

My husband and I found a strange bulb like plant that when broken open it smells and tastes like strong onion or garlic. The heads are at the top of the plant though not at the root base like most wild onions. It looks like the plant already flowered and left behind a white head. When the head is broken open it has the strong smell and is very tightly compacted like seeds but has tiny small balls that taste like strong wild onions. Can you please identify? THANKS for your help !

ANSWER:

Onions and garlic both belong to the Genus Allium and this genus has many members, both native and introduced. It can be difficult to tell them apart and, in fact, their common names are often interchangeable. One possibility is Allium vineale, introduced wild garlic. Another possibility is Allium canadense, native wild onion. This same A. canadense is called both wild onion and wild garlic. They can reproduce by these aerial bulblets or bulbils. You can see many more native species of Allium in the Native Plants Database.
 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant ID from The Woodlands TX
July 22, 2013 - Your plant database does not distinguish 2 native tree species. Common names for these 2 trees: American hophornbeam and ironwood or musclewood. These common names are used for both trees - even m...
view the full question and answer

Where do snake herb and skeleton-leaf goldeneye get their names?
October 05, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Where does snake herb, and skeleton leaf goldeneye get their names from? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Fungi in the flower bed
October 01, 2007 - Found a strange thing in my flower bed, while tilling. It was egg shape, white, with a little purple, soft but tough like leather on the outside, with a small 2 inch root. Curiosity got me so I cut it...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
August 29, 2011 - Hi- I am currently am AP Biology student and have two plants left to identify that I found at a lily pool in Chicago. Can you help me identify them? One I believe is a fern, the other a flower. Th...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification in Keller TX
March 18, 2009 - I'm trying to i.d. a wildflower found in Keller, Tx. It is about 8 in. tall, single upright stem with narrow, slender leaves up the stem, several red blooms at top of stem about 1 inch wide, 5 petals...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center