Crow Garlic (Allium vineale )

Botanical Name : Allium vineale
Family : Alliaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus :             Allium
Synonyms : Allium kochii – Lange.
Common Name : Crow Garlic
Kingdom: Plantae
Order
: Asparagales
Tribe: Allieae
Species: A. vineale

Habitat : Much of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa and Lebanon. The species was introduced in Australia and North America, where it has become an invasive species.Habitat Fields and roadsides to elevations of 450 metres in Britain, often a serious weed of pastures.meadow;

Description:
It  is a perennial bulbflower  growing to 0.6m by 0.05m.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from October to August, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

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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 textured, with a groove along the side of the leaf facing the stem. The flowers are 2-5 mm long, with six petals varying in colour from pink to red or greenish-white. It flowers in the summer, June to August in northern Europe. Plants with no flowers, only bulbils, are sometimes distinguished as the variety Allium vineale var. compactum, but this character is probably not taxonomically significant.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

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Cultivation :

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. This species is a pernicious weed of grassland in Britain, spreading freely by means of its bulbils. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Plants do not need any encouragement, they are more than capable of propagating themselves. Bulbils are produced in abundance in the summer and are the main means by which the plant spreads

Uses and problems
While Allium vineale has been suggested as a substitute for garlic, it has an unpleasant aftertaste compared to that of garlic itself. 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 due to the structure of its leaves, being vertical, smooth and waxy. Herbicides do not cling well to it and are therefore not as effective

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Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Rather stringy, they are used as a garlic substitute. The leaves are available from late autumn until the following summer, when used sparingly they make a nice addition to the salad bowl. Bulb – used as a flavouring. Rather small, with a very strong flavour and odour. The bulbs are 10 – 20mm in diameter. Bulbils – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly, they have a strong garlic-like flavour.

Medicinal Actions &  Uses

Antiasthmatic; Blood purifier; Carminative; Cathartic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Stimulant; Vasodilator.

The whole plant is antiasthmatic, blood purifier, carminative, cathartic, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive, stimulant and vasodilator. A tincture is used to prevent worms and colic in children, and also as a remedy for croup. The raw root can be eaten to reduce blood pressure and also to ease shortness of breath. Although no other specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. The juice of the plant can be rubbed on exposed parts of the body to repel biting insects, scorpions etc.


Known Hazards
:   There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Allium+vineale
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_vineale
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALVI&photoID=alvi_002_ahp.tif
http://www.invasive.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=5007060

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