|Allium siculum flowers|
|Allium siculum foliage|
Allium siculum, also known as Sicilian honey lily, Sicilian honey garlic, or Mediterranean bells, is a perennial, ornamental, bulbous plant in the genus Allium used in gardening. It is a member of a small subgenus Nectaroscordum of Allium, which consists of only this species and Allium tripedale. It is sometimes referred to by the names Allium nectaroscordum, Nectaroscordum siculum Ucria, A. dioscorides auct., or A. meliophilum Juz.
Habitat and Description
Allium siculum is native to Asia Minor, southern France, and Sicily (hence the trivial names), growing in damp, shady woods. It has showy clusters of gracefully drooping bell-shaped blossoms produced in May to early June sitting atop a tall green stem, to 1.2 m in height. The florets (blossoms), suspended on long drooping pedicels (stems), are cream colored with a maroon streak down each petal, have white flared tips, and are tinted green at the base. The blossoms are followed by decorative, erect seed pods in late summer. The blue-gray foliage is instantly recognizable, being triangular in cross-section and strongly twisting along the length of the ascending leaves, as if sculpted of wrought iron. A penetrating, skunky odor is released when the plant is cut.
Said to be deer resistant, Allium siculum is used as a seasoning in Bulgaria. It is rather commonly used in gardens because of the showy, drooping blossoms and unusual foliage.
When Allium siculum is crushed, lachrymatory agent (Z)-butanethial S-oxide along with several 1-butenyl thiosulfinates are detected by mass spectrometry using a DART ion source. (Z)-Butanethial S-oxide (the higher homolog of syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the onion lachrymatory agent) isolated from the plant was shown to be identical to a synthetic sample. The precursor to the lachrymatory compound, (RS,RC)-(E)-S-(1-butenyl)cysteine S-oxide (homoisoalliin), was isolated from homogenates of A. siculum, and a closely related species, Allium tripedale, and fully characterized.
- Friesen, N.; Fritsch, R. M.; Blattner, F. R. (2006). "Phylogeny and new intrageneric classification of Allium (Alliaceae) based on nuclear ribosomal DNA ITS sequences" (pdf). Aliso 22: 372–395.
- Kubec, R.; Kim, S.; McKeon, D. M.; Musah, R. A. (2002). "Isolation of S-butylcysteine sulfoxide and six butyl-containing thiosulfinates from Allium siculum". Journal of Natural Products Chemistry 65: 960–964. doi:10.1021/np020064i.
- "Allium Species Four". Pacific Bulb Society.
- "Nectaroscordum siculum". Royal Horticultural Society.
- Block, E. (2010). Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science. Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 0854041907.
- Kubec, R.; Cody, R. B.; Dane, A. J.; Musah, R. A.; Schraml, J.; Vattekkatte, A.; Block, E. (2010). "Applications of DART Mass Spectrometry in Allium Chemistry. (Z)-Butanethial S-Oxide and 1-Butenyl Thiosulfinates and their S-(E)-1-Butenylcysteine S-Oxide Precursor from Allium siculum". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 58 (2): 1121–1128. doi:10.1021/jf903733e. PMID 20047275.