Allium atroviolaceum + commutatum
Thu, 23 Oct 2003 18:57:55 PDT
Angelo Porcelli writes:

>I regret I had no time to take some photos of 
>two little known native Allium. One is Allium 
>atroviolaceum, a species of eastern Mediterranean 
>which has its western limit in Apulia -Italy. One 
>time common in olive fields, now it is regarded 
>as endangered, due to the farmlands activities.
>It is related to Allium ampeloprasum, but differs 
>for its taller stature (70-100cm) and the dark 
>purple flower heads and anters. It flowers in June 
>here. It's a charming species and has some 
>horticultural appeal for me. The other one is 
>Allium commutatum, called sea garlic, as it 
>dwells on the rocky lands on the sea. Bulbs 
>are though to be salt resistant and floaters. It 
>flowers very late for a Mediterranean plant, in 
>July and later. This is more or less spread 
>along all Italian coasts.

I grew Allium atroviolaceum about 6 years ago, perhaps in too wet a spot, as 
it only persisted 3-4 years, then died out.  It grew to nearly 5' (150 cm) 
tall, much taller than the height you specify (and as specified by some books), 
but checking Flora Iranica and Brian Mathew's "A Review of Allium section 
Allium", it is indeed listed as occasionally getting as tall as 150 cm.  It's a 
slender plant, with a largish drumstick of dark reddish purple at the top, having 
a most pleasing appearance.

I haven't grown Allium commutatum, although I've read much about it.  It's 
allied to Allium ampeloprasum (considered the ancestor to the leek) and Allium 
porrum (the leek).  The height range on this one is given to be 50-180 cm, thus 
able to be quite tall.  There are good photos of both species in the Brian 
Mathews publication.

I find it interesting too, that a number of Mediterranean Allium species are 
so late flowered (late summer to autumn) including Allium callimischon (and 
varieties), A. cupanii, A. autumnale, Allium ericetorum, and others.

Thanks Angelo for the notes on some rarely seen Allium species.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
>> web site under construction - <<
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american alpines, iris, plants of all types!

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