Allium zebdanense
Sat, 21 Apr 2007 20:28:12 PDT
I've grown Allium zebdanense for almost 30 years in New England, and it is perfectly hardy here, and one of the best species suitable for dry shade, although growable in more sunny locations too. There are 5 photos posted on the PBS wiki, at:…
This species is from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Israel.  In Isreal, it grows at high elevation on Mt. Hermon close to the Lebanon border, along with a number of other desirable specialized Allium species.  My plants aren't in bloom yet, but are in good leafage, in spite of the last week and a half of freezes and alternating snow and rain (yet today, it was like summer, at 75 degrees F.  This species rarely reseeds, and instead seems to prefer building up into dense clumps with graceful arching foliage and a profusion of clear white flowers.
Since talking about a mediterrannean/middle eastern plant, I thought I'd share a few links of other handsome alliums in the area.  In fact, on Mt. Hermon in Israel, there are some very desirable species, such as the dwarf blue-flowered A. sannineum... I've only seen a drawing but not a photograph... but it sure looks good in the drawing.
Here are a few Allium species from the area to dream about:
Allium rothii - with red and black flowers (beware, some URLS might wrap):………
Allium libani - for the past 30 years growing Allium, plants in cultivation always turn out to be the common rhizomatous Allium senescens.  The true plant is utterly unrelated, and a picture tells all:…
Allium hierochuntinum - a knob-headed true blue-flowered species.  I've had seedling persist a couple years but invariably die out afterwards.  It's a desert species, probably why it's so difficult to grow.…
Allium carmeli - from Mt. Hermon, very pretty pink flowers,…
It was said: "I've read that much, maybe all, of the material commonly sold as Allium
neapolitanum is in fact A. subhirsutum or other species."

I don't agree with that.  Whenever I've grown Allium neapolitanum from purchased bulbs (in pots and afforded frost protection), it's been true.  The species, like A. roseum, is not hardy in New England in USDA Zone 5.  I have also grown A. subhirsutum, and find it a bit hardier but not much, but it is a very different smaller plant. It is probably a USDA Zone 6 plant, maybe zone 7.  When will the horticultural industry finally give up on the silly misnomer A. "cowanii", which is really A. neapolitanum.  It was just a horticultural "faux pas" which persists and persists.
Mark McDonough
northern Massachusetts, USA, USDA Zone 5a


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