Allium atropurpureum

Adam Fikso
Thu, 24 Jun 2010 19:16:23 PDT
I second Mark's observations on A.atropurpureum.  I grew it about 50 years 
ago years ago  from seed I got from Georgia when Georgia was part of the 
USSR.  Like him, I found it hard to keep alive when I grew it in clayey soil 
with probably insufficient sunlight in Wilmette, IL

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark McDonough" <>
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 6:43 PM
Subject: [pbs] Allium atropurpureum

> Hello Steve  in scorching Delaware,
> Something sounds amiss with your "Allium atropurpureum".
>> I bought a pot of Allium atropurpureum... It has just finished with 
>> producing
>> some seed.  I ... noticed that one of the flower stalks was down. Closer
>> inspection revealed about 17 bazillion ... little bulblets. badly
>> invasive is this plant?  Shall I get it out of the garden fast, or does 
>> it
>> remain more or less in one place with just occasional escapees?
> Allium atropurpureum is a member of the Melanocrommyum section of Allium 
> (think of the big ball type, Allium giganteum, A. 'Globe Master', A. 
> hollandicum 'Purple Sensation', etc.).  Allium atropurpureum comes from 
> parts of Europe, to Turkey, to Siberia, and is related to Allium nigrum 
> and the true A. cyrillii (not A. cyrillii as most often distributed in 
> Hort).  All alliums in this section take 5-6 years to flower from seed. 
> When the seed falls, a winter cold period is required before germination. 
> They are NOT bulbiliferous species that produce bulbils in the flower head 
> which can sprout as soon as they hit the soil.  My guess is, you do not 
> have the true A. atropurpureum, but have a weedy imposter instead, because 
> to me it seems highly unlikely that there would be any sprouting bulblets 
> at all from that species.  I'm not that far from Delaware, being in 
> Massachusetts, and I find this species slow and actually difficult to keep 
> going (and yes, it is blazing hot here these d
> ays too;-).
> Do you have any photos of your plant that you can share?  If you don't 
> have a place to upload them, forward some to me and I can post them on my 
> website and supply links to further this conversation and plant ID.
> Here's what mine looks like, photo taken 05-30-2010:
> The stem is about 3' tall.
> here's what the seed pod looks like, taken today, not ripe yet, there are 
> no bulbils, never seen bulbils nor proliferating bulblets on this species:
> Regarding invasive alliums, sure there are a few bad ones that can 
> proliferate too much, but given a genus of nearly 1000 species, don't let 
> a few bad ones completely put you off this fun, ornamental, and most 
> worthy genus, there are many excellent species.  Be cautious of advice 
> from alliumphobes who have abolished the entire genus because of a couple 
> poor Allium choices.
> I recommend taking a broader view of plant invasiveness versus weediness. 
> I grow hundreds upon hundreds of different Allium, and can honestly say, 
> my Allium garden has not gotten out of control, there are no 
> uncontrollable thugs... I was careful to avoid a few known weedy types, 
> although still working on getting rid of A. tuberosum, a thug which seeds 
> about too enthusiastically.
> However, there are whole parts of my yard, my woods, my lawn, forever 
> taken over by and lost to Campanula takesimana, one of the most beautiful 
> yet horrible weeds out there.  Campanula punctata was nearly as bad, but 
> can't withstand drought, and I finally eradicated it after about 10 years 
> trying.  But C. takesimana is taking over my property, and escaping to the 
> neighboring woods and street edges.  Do I shun the entire genus Campanula 
> because of these two most horrible of horrible thugs? No, surely there are 
> good Campanula species too.  On a positive note, there's a chance that 
> Campanula takesimana might prove to be an effective competitor and control 
> against poison ivy ;-)
> Here are some links to Campanula takesimana taken on my property today:
> Don't be fooled by the pretty looks of this siren beauty, many nurseries 
> carry it and many named color forms; avoid it like the plague.
> Mark McDonough
> Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border, USDA Zone 5
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