Allium is a genus of more than 800 species of bulbous perennials in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to the Northern Hemisphere, but cultivated all over the world.
These plants come in a broad palette of colors, shapes and sizes. Most Alliums have globe-shaped clusters of flowers in shades of purple, pink, blue, white and yellow. The most common Alliums are edible plants, but also very useful in multiple ornamental settings.
The word “allium” comes from the Latin word for garlic. However, this name was taken over by Linnaeus for the entire genus.
Allium represents strength, patience, good fortune and prosperity.
Interesting facts about Allium:
Benefits and Uses
All members of this genus are edible and cultivated worldwide. However, species that are bred specifically as ornamentals may be less palatable.
The Alliums include some of the most ancient cultivated crops, such as garlic, onion, chive and leek. All parts of the plants are edible, although only the bulbs and leaves are usually consumed.
All species contain organic compounds called organosulfoxides, particularly alk(en)ylcysteine sulfoxides. which give them a distinctive odor and taste. Organosulfoxides are safe to humans, but can cause toxic reactions in your pets so keep these plants away from them!
Alliums are great garden plants because of their elegant slender stems and globular blooms. They don’t take up a lot of space and will bring color and height to any garden.
Known for their perfectly round shape and beautiful colors, Alliums are also great for any flower arrangement.
Most Alliums come in shades of purple, but there are pink, blue, white and yellow varieties as well.
Alliums range in size from 15 cm (6 inches) to 180 cm (6 ft) giants.
Alliums are not fussy about their soil, so long as it is well drained.