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One Man’s Wild Onion Is Another Man’s Allium

Spent Bloom Of Allium - Wild Onion

Spent Bloom Of Allium - Wild Onion

Ask the Expert: Plant Identification
Found this rather odd plant growing in my yard.  To be honest, when it first came up I thought it was wild onions.  It just kept getting taller and taller, however, and because it was growing in an area that wasn’t creating a problem, I let it go to see what it would become.  Eventually it grew to a height well over two feet.  A single green stem extends from the ground and the stem is very woody and strong.  The wild morning glories, in fact, are using them for a trellis.  It developed a ball shaped “bud” at the very top of the stem that looked almost like a spire on old, Russian architecture.  When it bloomed, it looked like one of those crazy cans of peanuts with the spring loaded worm in it.  Here is a picture of it after it bloomed.  Gina

Plant Expert Reply:

First, I love your description.  So many times, people have a hard time describing the plant that needs identification.  With your description, I could have idenitified it immediately without a picture.

What you have is a plant from the Allium genus.  Most of the plants in this genus are some kind of “wild” onion or “wild” garlic and considered undesirable by many.  However, several species are used in English garden or herb gardens.  Without a picture of the bloom, it is hard to determine which species you have.  If  I had to guess by height and look of stem only, it would be  Allium caeruleum, Allium cristophii, Allium x hollandicum, Allium nigrum, Allium paniculatum, Allium roseum, Allium schoenoprasum, Allium sensecens, or Allium sphaerocephalon.

If you didn’t plant it specifically, I would recommend pulling it up and getting rid of it.  The seed will sprout all over the place. If you like the look of the plant and want to keep it,  you can keep it contained with a little maintenance.

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