Allium oleraceum (field garlic) is a bulbous perennial that grows wild in dry places in northern Europe and in parts of North America, reaching 80 cm in height. It reproduces by seed, bulbs and by the production of small bulblets in the flower head (similarly to Allium vineale). Unlike A. vineale however, it is very rare with A. oleraceum to find flower-heads containing bulbils only. In addition, the spathe in A. oleraceum is in two parts.
In the United Kingdom, A. oleraceum is found in dry, grassy places, usually steeply sloping and calcareous soils, and on open sunny banks in river floodplains. It favours altitudes of 0-365 m. A. oleraceum is scattered throughout England and very scattered in Wales, Scotland and Ireland (Stace, 1997). Erosion of coastal areas leads to a reduction in the available habitat for this species, leading to population declines.
This plant prefers partial or full exposure to sunlight. Allium oleraceum tends to grow in slightly moist, heavy clay-like soil, although it will grow just fine in other soils. This plant spreads quickly, much like a weed, and can be difficult to get rid of.
- The Plant List
- The Reader's Digest Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain p.382.
- Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 299.
- Altervista Flora Italiana, Schede di Botanica
- UK Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (GRFA).
- Flora of North America v 26 p 238, Allium oleraceum
- BONAP (Biota of North America Program), floristic synthesis, Allium oleraceum
- Gleason, H. A. & A.J. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (ed. 2) i–910. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.