Allium heldreichii
Mon, 24 May 2004 11:16:35 PDT
In a message dated 5/24/2004 12:11:37 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

Arnold Trachtenberg <> wrote:
> A new flowering onion to me.  Grown from NARGS seed from 
> 2002.  From Mt.Olympus

Hi Arnold and PBS members,

I always look at any Allium grown from the seedexs with a bit of suspicion, because so many Alliums are misidentified.  On your Allium heldreichii, it's too hard for me to say with certainty that it's identity is true... I guess I'd need to see more of the plant aspect to make a determination.

If you could, please compare your plant with a photo I posted last year to the PBS wiki at:…

There are three links on that page, 2 showing some "Garden views", and the last link showing "Bulb Profiles". That photo shows 4 different Alliums, bulb and all, with the soil washed off, so one gets the whole impression of what the species looks like.  The 2nd plant from the left is A. heldreichii (labeled "F").  I have grown it from several known sources, and typically the flowers are a deep pink to purplish pink, in a rather dense-ish head. Previous to that, I grew the plant numerous times from seed exchanges and they always ended up being usurped by an imposter, such as cyathophorum v. farreri, cernuum, and most commonly schoenoprasum.

Your plant might represent a pale-flowered form of heldreichii, perhaps a young immature flowering as well, accounting for the few-flowered head.  How tall does your plant grow?  What are the leaves like... length, shape in cross-section, hollow or solid?  The leaf in the background of your plant.... is that the leaf on the plant?  It's a little out of focus, but my guess is that that leaf is terete (round in cross section), therefore I'm not ruling out A. schoenoprasum or ledebourianum, the former species being incredibly diverse, that at first glance it doesn't look like the familiar chives.  I grow numerous forms of A. schoenoprasum, and your plant is reminiscent of them.

Mark McDonough        
Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States  
"New England", near New Hampshire  
USDA Zone 5
alliums, bulbs, penstemons, hardy hibiscus, 
western american alpines, iris, plants of all 

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