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False Garlic

The verdant landscapes of spring, along a rural Adams County roadside. But wait! What's that mist of white flowers creating a drift along the verge?

This one is worth stopping for. It's False Garlic, Nothoscordum bivalve, an Ohio threatened plant. While it acts rather weedy, False Garlic occurs only in a limited area of southernmost Ohio, primarily in Adams County. Start moving south, and the plant becomes abundant. I once drove to Texas at this time of year, and False Garlic became a prolific roadside - dare I say - "weed" in many areas.

Up close and personal, we can clearly see that this species is in the lily family (Liliaceae) with its six-parted flowers. False Garlic greatly resembles some of the wild onions in the genus Allium, but with the possible exception of Nodding Wild Onion, A. cernuum, those species do not have nearly as showy flowers. Also, had I plunked down in a patch of true onions to make some photos, as I did here, the powerful, pungent aroma of onions would have risen to greet me. False Garlic is inodorous - it produces no smell.

Hopefully these plants will still be in bloom this weekend for the Flora-Quest crowd, as some of their expeditions should be going right by this very patch of plants.


Comments

A.L. Gibson said…
Only time I've seen this in Ohio is the population growing at Buckeye Station along US-52. Few weekends back I was in Bullitt Co, KY with Dan Boone and saw first hand just how common and 'weedy' it gets just a bit further south. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend for Flora-Quest! Here's to dry skies!
I keep waiting to see your Gargeny pictures. Or did I miss them?? Surely you went to see it?? Or maybe you have it already??
Jim McCormac said…
Good seeing you at F-Q, Andrew!

No time to chase the Garganey, Lisa - I'm in West Virginia now. Did see the first Ohio record, though, back in 2002...
Anonymous said…
I'm from Adams County and I'm trying to figure out where this picture is... is it on Logan's Lane outside of West Union? I know I've been down this road before.
Jim McCormac said…
Hi Anonymous. The F. Garlic is along Waggoner-Riffle Road, east side of Ohio Brush Creek, a few miles south of State Rte. 125...
Anonymous said…
I have had this growing in my front yard in Dayton for several years. I keep it from getting weedy by cutting it back after the spring flowering, and I usually get a nice second flowering in the fall. Just found out what it was--and I gather it's rare this far north?

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