Allium schubertii

Jim McKenney
Sat, 25 Oct 2008 09:48:49 PDT
This year plants of Allium schubertii bloomed and set seed freely. The
infructescence of this plant is spectacular - some measured twenty-four
inches across this year! They come on a stem which is probably not much more
than a foot and a half high, and as I guess everyone knows are very


I had read that these seed bearing structures dry and then become
tumbleweeds in the wild. I've always gathered them long before that happens
in the garden. But this year after gathering them I pushed the stems down
into the dense growth of some boxwoods and left them there as decorations
throughout the summer. When I came home the other day, several of them were


I learned something here: when they are ready to go into tumbleweed phase,
the umbels separate from the stem. That leaves the basket-ball sized umbel
free to roll around with out the attached stem which would throw off the
balance. When dried and kept in the house for decoration, I had never known
this to happen - the stem always remained attached. 


So there they were, the stems still stuck into the boxwoods, but the huge
spherical infructescences rolling around the neighborhood. I gathered them
up because I want some of the seeds. This plant has two sets of flowers: the
ones on the tips of the very elongated pedicels and the other, more numerous
one on much shorter pedicels forming an inner sphere about four inches or so
in diameter. The flowers on the inner pedicels are bigger and handsomer than
those on the long pedicels; and those inner ones seem to set more seed:
totally cool plant!      


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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