Herbs & Plants

Allium carinatum

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Botanical Name : Allium carinatum
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Genus: Allium
Species:A. carinatum
Order: Asparagales

Common Names: Keeled garlic, Witch’s garlic

Habitat:Allium carinatum is considered native to the Mediterranean Region from Spain to Turkey, north to Sweden and the Baltic Republics. It is naturalized in the British Isles. It grows in the dry grassy places and open woods.


Allium carinatum produces a single small bulb rarely more than 15 mm long, flat leaves, and an umbel of purple to reddish-purple flowers. The flowers are on long pedicels and often nodding (hanging downwards] It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Numerous botanical names have been coined within the species at the varietal level, but only two are recognized:

*Allium carinatum subsp. carinatum – most of species range
*Allium carinatum subsp. pulchellum (G.Don) Bonnier & Layens – central Europe + Balkans
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Succeeds in clay soils. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. 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. A good plant for the wild garden. This species can become very invasive by means of its bulbils. The sub-species A. carinatum pulchellum Bonnier.&Layens. is much better behaved and makes a good garden plant. Closely allied to A. oleraceum. Produces new growth in early autumn. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. Bulbils are harvested in late summer and can be planted out immediately in situ or stored and planted out in spring.

Edible Uses:
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulb is very small, about 15mm tall and 10mm in diameter. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Bulbils – raw or cooked. Rather small and fiddly to use, but they have a fairly pleasant onion/garlic flavour.
Medicinal Uses:
Although no 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: The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. It is cultivated in many places as an ornamental and also for its potently aromatic bulbs used as a food flavoring.
Known Hazards: Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. 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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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