Does ornamental allium smell like garlic?

claysoil(z6 PA)May 12, 2009

Hi, I searched the archives with no luck, so hope someone can help me. Does ornamental allium smell like its cousin, garlic???

I have some ornamental allium and never detected an odor to it. I did a trade for some more "allium" and when it arrived the sealed envelope sat in my kitchen for a couple of hours. When I got home, my house reeked of garlic. Several of the bulbs had been damaged in transit and the package took a week to arrive, which could accunt for some of the smell. I contacted the person who sent them saying that I had expected ornamental allium, not garlic. She is insisting that what she sent is not garlic. I know that common names differ from place to place, but when I did a search of the internet the information I found verified what I thought....that ornamental allium does not have an odor. Does anyone have experience with an ornamental allium that has a strong garlic odor?

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prayerrock(zone 5)

I did a search also and found a website that said Ornamentsl alium does indeed have an odor, that is why deer and rabits..etc will not eat it. the oder comes from digging the bulbs or from crushing, tearing or breaking the foliage.if none of that is done then you likely will not notice much of an oder. It should smell like onion not garlic as it is of the onion family.

Would love to hear from others also.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:37PM
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zubababy(6b Utah)

I do have one ornamental onion (Nectaroscordum - siculum ssp. Bulgaricum / Allium siculum) that smells really bad when I pull the spent flower and leaves off. The smell is so horrible that I get a bad taste in my mouth. I don't have this problem with my other ornamental onions.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 12:06AM
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We have a patch of allium at the back of the property that has kind of taken over and worked its way into the lawn. I can attest that when I mow that area it definitely smells like an onion patch! Of course, I love onion and am not bothered by the scent and the beautiful blooms make up for any odor. However, if they were growing under my bedroom window, I might feel differently!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 11:09PM
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e36yellowm3(7 Raleigh, NC)

I've got some ornamental allium "Alpine Rosy Bells" that don't smell at all. I just dug them up to separate / trade and nicked a few with the shovel - no odor. I guess there's lots of types of allium, though. From GardenWeb pics

    Bookmark   May 18, 2009 at 10:04PM
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valentinetbear(z6 PA)

Yes, I read the question, and I know I'm reading in the bulb forum, but think this might help, as far as a "maybe" can go in this situation.

I have garlic chive seeds (not bulbs.) Have read this herb is in the chive family, which also is related - cousins?! - to allium. Have been told, clearly, it is NOT onion chives. BUT, with all that, I gotta guess (and probably poorly, but sure enough to write this) that maybe, some alliums do smell like garlic.

One thing I really do know for sure - if one of those looks like a garlic clove and chops up like a garlic clove, I'd give it an 80% chance of it being garlic. (Not gutsy enough to eat it. lol) If it doesn't, any harm in planting them to see what you have? Worse comes to worse, you pull it out. Best comes to best, you got yourself another ornamental allium.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2009 at 2:24PM
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claysoil(z6 PA)

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences, I appreciate it! The bulbs that survived the trip are being planted in a new daylily bed where I have had some mole traffic. Worst case scenario; they are a type of flowering garlic and will deter the moles. Best case; there will be gorgeous, odorless blooms that can be cut and brought inside for bouquets next spring.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2009 at 2:46PM
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