En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 identification
September 21, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, Hopefully you can help identify the following plant. I've had a bush type of weed growing near my hay feeder for the cows this year that's about 2' tall has massive spikes o...
view the full question and answer

Good website for identifying wildflowers
April 27, 2008 - What is a good website to identify wildflowers? I have done Google searches and none of the websites seem to help. Where should I go?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification, possibly Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed)
August 20, 2010 - I have a patch of plants I can't find what they are, could you help? The plant is a tuber (resembles a carrot when it is small), the stalk is red and fibrous, comes back each year bigger, has green ...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 28, 2010 - I am trying to identify a plant that was given as a gift.It is growing outside in a pot, it is about 20 inches tall. Has green leaves on top, purple underneath and lovely purple flowers. Seems to lik...
view the full question and answer

Is Talinum paniculatum native to Central Texas?
September 02, 2012 - I just bought a plant in Austin called Talinum paniculatum, Jewels of Opar. We are adamant about growing only local natives in the yard so it will have to be a potted plant unless you can verif...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center