New American alliums added

Nhu Nguyen
Tue, 01 Apr 2008 11:03:56 PDT
Hi Diane,

I am not aware of any studies which found that serpentine Allium
specifically accumulate minerals from the soil. However, it would not be
surprising since many other serpentine plants do accumulate minerals from
serpentine, particularly heavy metals (both the essential kind and the
nonessential kind like lead). Most of the western U.S. alliums are too small
to be eaten, particularly those related to *Allium jepsonii*, which has a
limited distribution only in California and restricted to serpentine. They
only grow one leaf per year and sampling a whole leaf would be very
unhealthy if not detrimental to the plant. The only one here that grows
large enough for nibbling is *Allium unifolium*, which is a vigorous grower
and is a grassland species.

I do know of a person who samples the flowers of serpentine alliums and she
says that each species tastes differently. However, given what we don't know
about the metal accumulation in serpentine species, and what we do know
about other serpentine plants, it's best to avoid tasting them. We do have a
weed species introduced from Europe called *Allium triquetrum*, which had
peaked my interest for a while now. Perhaps this year I will give it a try!


On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 8:28 AM, Diane Whitehead <>

> Nhu,
> Thank you for the new alliums and reorganization.
> In studying western U.S. alliums, did you find that the ones growing
> on serpentine are accumulators of any of the minerals?  I have long
> been curious as to whether all alliums are safely edible, though the
> only one that grows exuberantly enough for me to eat is cernuum.
> Diane Whitehead
> Victoria, B.C., Canada
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