Monday, August 31, 2009

Plea For an ID


I'm known to wander through the woods with bag and trowel in hand, just in case I come across a plant that needs relocating to our gardens. We have friends that own a woods near here that holds a treasure trove of natives and they've given us permission to wander at will and take what we want.

We don't want to abuse the privilege, so we've only been there twice this summer, once with the owner along. On the first trip there, in May, I noticed a clump of strappy foliage growing at the base of a tree. The leaves were about ten inches long and originating from a central point in the ground. Upon digging, we discovered it was a bulb.

It had the tell-tale aroma of onion, though ever so slight, so we determined that it was an allium of some sort. It was May when we planted them in a shady spot in our garden, which was like that of its origin, though alliums generally like sun. It grew well all summer, then in mid-summer it put up a stem with a bulbous bud at the tip.

After what seemed to be an extraordinarily long time, it produced a round ball of little white flowers that were pretty unremarkable. The flower head was no more than an inch in diameter and the bloom didn't last long. But the seeds that are now like little beads on the seed head are extraordinary.



They're shiny, pearly, and the prettiest shade of midnight blue. They border on being iridescent and have been perched atop the seed head for a couple of weeks now. I've searched online to try and determine what native allium this might be, but haven't been able to find it.

Any ideas?


13 comments:

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Could it be a Allium tricoccum (Wild Leek)? This link has a photo of seeds that look very similar:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.prairiemoon.com/images/D/Allium_tricoccum_Wild_Leek_seed.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.prairiemoon.com/seeds/wildflowers-forbs/allium-tricoccum-wild-leek/&usg=__R395CT7OVVI6hms5yn9Z4ABryac=&h=600&w=399&sz=26&hl=en&start=55&um=1&tbnid=xZkO3tmGdUBmgM:&tbnh=135&tbnw=90&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dallium%2Bseed%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1G1GGLQ_ENUS257%26sa%3DN%26start%3D40%26um%3D1

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

Cindy ~ Wow. I think you've hit it on the first try! This was the only clump we saw in all the woods and it was a big woods. I looked it up and saw other photos of the foliage and I do believe that's what these are. Also called ramps, which I've heard of.

Thanks, Cindy! :-)

Gail said...

They look ramps (Allium tricoccum) to me, too! What beauties those seed heads display! gail

Michael Nolan said...

Yep, those are ramps!

Janet said...

what a great bunch of folks who can make an ID so quickly!

Frances said...

Ah, you already have an ID, wonderful! Ramps, a native here as well and eaten by many. There are Ramp festivals near here that are well attended. Good choice for the bucket, Kylee! :-)
Frances

WiseAcre said...

Guess I'm just in time to agree they're wild leeks.

Connie said...

I can see why you are smitten with them...they are very handsome.

Earth Girl said...

Ramps! Oh, others beat me to the ID. I discovered them last spring also, on Easter Sunday, in fact, according to an old blog post. I used them in a potato dish and it was excellent.

Shady Gardener said...

So... I can either pretend I knew (now that they've been identified) or be completely honest and say "I had no idea!" But they certainly are amazing! :-)

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

I feel like I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and I asked the audience and 95% knew the answer! LOL.

YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME! This is one of the greatest things about blogging...a few hundred gardeners together are way better than one! :-) Thank you!

Muhammad khabbab said...

beautiful. never seen these alliums in our region. would search and find out whether seeds are available here or not.

Nutty Gnome said...

I've never heard of ramps so I'd have been no use to you on 'Millionaire' - but they are lovely! Wonder if we can get them in the UK? :)

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