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

Identification of a vine in Tennessee
June 14, 2014 - I have a beautiful vine with clusters approximately 70 feet All the way up a tree in a heavily wooded area. It seems to be evergreen or semi- evergreen. Can you help identify?
view the full question and answer

Plant ID by pictures from Boise ID
May 01, 2014 - DEAR WILDFLOWER CENTER, TOOK SOME PICTURES A WEEK AGO--THE BOISE BOTANICAL GARDEN IDENTIFIED THE HENBIT BUT COULDN'T IDENTIFY THE REDDISH CYLINDRICAL FLOWERS IN PHOTO #4--CAN YOU HELP? YOU CAN FIND...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant similar to Lindheimer's senna (Senna lindheimeriana)
October 27, 2011 - I purchased "Lindheimer's Senna" at our MG plant sale in Williamson Co. two years ago. My three plants are now 6 ft. tall but I don't think they are Lindheimers. I've searched your plant files ...
view the full question and answer

ID of odd woodland plant in PA?
July 20, 2009 - Found in the woods in Eastern Pennsylvania. It is about 8 inches tall and were found in clusters of 3 to 10. They are clear. with pink and black tops. Similar to a flower, but snaps like a fungus. ...
view the full question and answer

Identity of a pink-flowering bush with flowers like sweet peas
June 29, 2012 - I have found a pink flowering small tree / bush that has picky branches kind of looks like sweet pea flowers and the leaves kind of look like shumac. Growing near the thick woods of northern MI
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center