umbel showing bulbils and a few flowers
Allium vineale (wild garlic, crow garlic or stag's garlic) is a perennial, bulb-forming species of wild onions, native to Europe, northwestern Africa and the Middle East. The species was introduced in Australia and North America, where it has become a noxious weed. 
All parts of the plant have a strong garlic odour. The underground bulb is 1-2 cm diameter, with a fibrous outer layer. The main stem grows to 30-120 cm tall, bearing 2-4 leaves and an apical inflorescence 2-5 cm diameter comprising a number of small bulbils and none to a few flowers, subtended by a basal bract. The leaves are slender hollow tubes, 15-60 cm long and 2-4 mm thick, waxy texture, with a groove along the side of the leaf facing the stem. The inflorescence is a tight umbel surrounded by a membranous bract in bud which withers when the flowers open. Each individual flower is stalked and has a pinkish-green perianth 2.5 to 4.5 mm (0.10 to 0.18 in) long. There are six tepals, six stamens and a pistil formed from three fused carpels. Mixed with the flowers are several of yellowish-brown bulbils. The fruit is a capsule but the seeds seldom set and propagation usually takes place when the bulbils are knocked off and grow into new plants. Plants with no flowers, only bulbils, are sometimes distinguished as the variety Allium vineale var. compactum, but this character is probably not taxonomically significant.
Uses and problems
While Allium vineale has been suggested as a substitute for garlic, there is some difference of opinion as to whether there is an unpleasant aftertaste compared to that of common garlic (A. sativum). It imparts a garlic-like flavour and odour on dairy and beef products when grazed by livestock. It is considered a pestilential invasive weed, as grain products may become tainted with a garlic odour or flavour in the presence of aerial bulblets at the time of harvest. Wild garlic is resistant to herbicides, which cannot cling well to the vertical, smooth and waxy structure of its leaves.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Allium vineale.|
- The Plant List
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
- "Allium vineale". Flora of North America (FNA). Missouri Botanical Garden – via eFloras.org.
- "Allium vineale". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2013.
- "Allium vineale". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN).
- Weeds Australia, Australian Weeds Committee, Allium vineale
- Brewster, J. L. (2008). Onions and Other Alliums. (Wallingford: CABI Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84593-399-9.
- "Wild garlic: Allium vineale". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-31.
- Davies, D. (1992). Alliums: The Ornamental Onions. (Portland: Timber Press. ISBN 0-88192-241-2.
- Eric Block, "Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science" (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010)
- James L. Brewster, "Onions and Other Alliums" (Wallingford: CABI Publishing, 2008)
- Dilys Davies, "Alliums: The Ornamental Onions" (Portland: Timber Press, 1992)
- Wild Garlic & Wild Onion. Clemson University. Retrieved May 12, 2013
- Block, E. (2010). Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science. (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 978-0-85404-190-9.