I just received this email from a bulb company propmoting their ornamental alliums. What I am wondering is how many of these are really good alliums for eating:
Allium albopilosum, Ambassador, Firmament, Gladiator, Globemaster, Pinball Wizard, Mount Everest and White Giant.
Allium aflatunense, aflatunense Purple Sensation, atropurpureum, azureum, karativiense, karativiense Ivory Queen, multibulbosum, rosenbachianum and Silver Spring. (For those of you involved in garden restorations, Allium aflatunense, albopilosum, atropurpureum, azureum, karativiense, karativiense Ivory Queen and multibulbosum are all heirloom varieties, some dating back to as long ago as 1762)
Allium schubertii that has spidery, 12” flowers
Allium bulgaricum that gracefully grows to three feet tall with delicate clusters of pendant ivory flowers flushed purple that magically elevate themselves into a magnificent, outward-facing flower.
Allium Hair that appears much like an alien life form with green, tentacle-like flowers.
Allium flavum and pulchellum and that bring bursts of golden-yellow and reddish-violet fireworks to the garden.
I grow many of these, including Ambassador, Gladiator, Mount Everest, Purple Sensation, azureum, cernuum, shubertii, flavum, thunbergii, tuberosum, christophii, govanianum, schoenoprasum and a few others. I haven't tried eating these, most would be a little pricey for eating. Some can be easily grown from seed though, and would be worth a shot. JLHuson currently offers 7 different alliums, so for the price of a couple of bulbs one could try several types for experiment. It will take me a couple of years to multiply the ones I have now enough to taste any of them.
Christophii or Schubertii (I forget which) smells & tastes like petrol :-) All alliums contain sulphur, in varying amounts & combinations; I once heard they're all edible, but not always tasty Check out www.pfaf.org/leaflets/onions.php: I grow & love eating the following:
A.Tuberosum A. Carinatum (my favourite) A.Triquetrum A. Oleraceum A. Zebdanense A. Moly A. Paniculatum A. Ampeloprasum: Babbington's leek A. Sensation & some other big headed ones: I've tasted a few; they're quite ok to me, but then the wild perennials are so much hardier. Warning: some alliums, like A. vineale (including A. vineale 'Hair') produce loads of bulbils, which will spread all over the garden. A. carinatum does that too, but we eat most of the young plants ;-)
Post by blueadzuki on Sept 18, 2013 15:05:00 GMT -5
Not just taste; a lot of them could use some upping of bulb size too (there's only so much you can do with pea sized bulbs, which is as big as a lot of them get).
Based on my growing of them, I think A.moly could also use a little selection for more even bulb growth. In my pants, a lot of times the inner layers of the bulbs grew so rapidly they split the outer layers, leaving large rents in the fleshy parts. This might be OK in the Mediterranean area, but up in my colder, wetter world it resulted in a lot of bulbs getting moldy unless I peeled them down to the first "whole" layer (which often resulted in the loss of a quarter to a third of the already not so mighty bulb weight)
As for edible ornamentals I think A. roseum has it's charms as does A. neopalitum. Twinleaf onion is breathtaking, though the small size of both plant and bulb means that it might be hard to make the crossover to eating unless you have a LOT of plants. A. caeruleum is also quite pretty. I'm sure there are others but a lot of the odd alliums I got over the last year arrived too late for this years plantings, so I wont be able to make judgements about them until next year.
The only non-standard allium I've got in the garden is Allium cernuum. I am curious about the flavour of its bulb which is supposed to be like a strong onion. I had them in a small pot for a year or two then planted them out in the garden last spring. They are now into their second spring in the garden but are showing no signs of a bulb or flower. They are multiplying vegetatively though and each one I planted is now a little clump or two or three.
Ray Silty loam over clay, pH 5.5, altitude 1000m, latitude 30deg south, 150 frost free days.
I have an ornamental allium around my house; not sure what species, it was there when I bought the house. It gets a 6-8" stalk of bright yellow flowers in late Spring. Several years ago, after reading that all alliums were edible (and confirming that at my local Extension office) I tried some of the flowers. They were wonderful - like honey/garlic. I enjoy them in salads when they are blooming (which might be a tasty, colorful way to eat other ornamental alliums). The bulbs multiply like mad, and are about the size of pearl onions... and since they are hardier than pearl onions (which I also grow) I've been tempted to try pickling them. The bulbs are dormant now, I'm curious what they would do if divided & Fall planted into a prepared bed, like garlic.
Thanks for the references. I checked out more photos of A. moly (including the leaves) and read the description on the PFAF site... that looks like the one. Nice to finally give it a name! They gave a pretty good endorsement of its flavor, I'll definitely be trying the bulbs. The "sometimes considered to be invasive" backs up my observations; that degree of multiplication could be a good thing, if cultivated as a crop. It would also look pretty in bloom - think I'll put a test planting in my garlic bed.
Re-reading this thread, I think Blue likes them better than I do - he even grows them in his pants! ;-) Don't know how I missed that earlier, that sentence had me busting a gut.
New leafs of moly and its flowers are great! Discovered this one this year. With that said, most ornamental onions seem, to me, not to be worth-while edibles. I do however like some of the large ampeloprasums, like Chinese One-Clove Garlic, as well as Allium triquetrum which has amazingingly tasty flowers.