Allium sphaerocephalon is known as round-headed leek and also round-headed garlic, ball-head onion, and other variations on these names. Other names include Drumsticks, and in Germany, Kugellauch. The orthographic variant A. sphaerocephalum is also found. It is a hardy perennial plant. It is grown by gardeners for its striking appearance when in flower. The purple spherical flower head is borne on a long spike, up to 50 cm in height, usually in the month of July.
There are several varieties, including:
- A. sphaerocephalon f. prostratum
- A. sphaerocephalon var. stipitatum
- A. sphaerocephalon ssp. durandoi
Synonyms for Allium sphaerocephalon include Allium descendens L.
The plant grows from bulbs which are oval in shape. Small bulblets are present under the outer layer of the stem (making the plant potentially invasive when grown in gardens). Flowers are borne on a stem up to 50 cm in height, in a spherical to egg-shaped umbel, 1 to 6 cm in diameter. The relatively small size of the umbel relative to the height of the stem makes this one of those described as 'drumstick alliums'. Individual flowers are reddish-purple and are occasionally replaced by bulbils (again making this a potentially invasive species).
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