Field Garlic

Field Garlic
Field Garlic. Allium vineale.
Alliaceae, the onion family.

Plant: Strongly garlic-scented plant 1'-3' high with hollow, grasslike leaves growing from underground bulbs, and a flowering stem topped by a compact cluster of tiny purple to pinkish flowers, often mixed with or replaced by long-tailed bulblets. Perennial.
Flowers: Tiny purple to pinkish flowers, about 1/8" wide on longer stems, springing from a compact, globular cluster, with three petals and three petal-like sepals. The flowers are frequently mixed with, or entirely replaced by long-tailed bulblets. The entire unit is born atop a long stem that rises directly from the underground bulb.
Leaves: Basal, with a few attached to the main flowering stem, linear, hollow, to about 18". Smelling strongly of garlic.
Fruit: A cluster small seeds, or of long-tailed bulblets.
Blooming: June-August
Habitat: Fields, lawns, roadsides.

Comments: This introduced member of the onion family is frequently an invasive weed in pastures and lawns. The strong garlic smell is transferred to the milk of cows that eat it, causing quality problems if it becomes established in forage or pasture areas. Many members of the onion family are edible, and the small bulbs of this species are not toxic; however they are a bit too rank and strong-flavored to be palatable, and have not found much use as human food. I have tried these cooked up, and they are somewhat fibrous and bitter in addition to garlic-flavored, and just not very tasty.

Where to find it: Widely distributed in the field areas of the park.