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This perennial plant consists of a rosette of basal leaves that are about 6-12" long and 2-3 mm. across. These erect to semi-erect leaves are linear, flat, and often slightly arching; they are medium green and glabrous. Each leaf has a poorly defined keel along its midvein, while its margins are smooth. Occasionally, flowering stalks emerge from the ground that are about the same height as the leaves, or slightly higher. These stalks are terete (round in cross-section), rather than flat, and they are held stiffly erect. Each stalk terminates in an inflorescence that has a sack-like covering spanning about ¾" across. This sack-like covering is white-membranous and ovoid in shape, tapering into a long beak at its apex. This covering splits open and withers away to reveal an umbel of about 6-12 pedicellate flowers or a similar number of sessile bulblets (frequently some combination of both). The star-shaped flowers are about ½" across. Each flower has 6 tepals, 6 stamens, and a light green ovary with a style. The tepals are lanceolate to elliptic in shape and white, light pink, or pink. The bulblets are about ¼" long, ovoid in shape, and light green to pinkish red. Wild Garlic is especially likely to flower or have reddish bulblets in a sunny situation. The pedicels of the flowers are about ¾" long, medium green, glabrous, and terete. The blooming period occurs during early summer and lasts about 3-4 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent, although the foliage exudes a typical onion scent. After the blooming period, the flowers are replaced by seed capsules; each capsule contains several small dark seeds. The root system consists of a bulb with thick fibrous roots, from which offsets may occasionally develop. This plant can also reproduce by its seeds and/or aerial bulblets.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers


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