Allium 2011

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14
Allium 2011

I thought I'd kick off the Allium 2011 topic, even though way too early for signs of plant growth outdoors. A NARGS member was inquiring about Allium tricoccum over on the Pacific Bulb Society mail list, so I'm jumping in with a photo of variegated forms of Allium tricoccum (Ramps) found by Darrell Probst in Massachusetts.

There's lots of interest in Ramps, including ramps festivals and dinners celebrating this pungent edible wildflower, so google to heart's delight to find out more, but here are a few links.

Ramps, the King of Stink:
http://www.kingofstink.com/

Connecticutt Wildflowers (the glossy round seeds are very attractive):
http://www.ct-botanical-society.org/galleries/alliumtric.html

nine photos here:
http://www.thismia.com/A/Allium_tricoccum.html

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

In Norway the counterpart is A ursinum called "ramsløk" (løk is equivalent to leek). "Ram" actually means strong smell as of a ram ;D

The plant is much used as a culinary herb (among certain people ;)

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Boland
Boland's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

I've grown many alliums over the year but for some reason, despite many attempts, I cannot get the rampions (generic) to germinate.  I am trying both species again this year.  Both are still in strat.

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

The birchbark makes a nice background to the photo, Mark!

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Ditto on the birch bark.

I put the native Allium tricoccum seed I collected last year directly between moist paper towels at room temperature until mid-September.  I think it was Deno, or perhaps someone else, that said the odd seed might germinate without a cold treatment.  But there was no germination, and they still looked as healthy as can be.  They have been in the fridge since then, and as of 2 days ago, they remain the status quo.  I am very optimistic.  

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Skulski wrote:

The birchbark makes a nice background to the photo, Mark!

I should have made it more clear that the photo of variegated Allium tricoccum is by Darrell Probst, not me, and it is indeed a clever on-the-fly way to get a good backdrop when photographing in the field.  

Rick, I've only tried growing Allium tricoccum from seed a couple of times, and failed each time.  I used to have one bulb that would flower every year, never increased in a decade or more, probably too dry where it is, and now I'm not sure if it is still there, the wild woody area where it is growing remains an absolute mess of fallen splintered tree limbs from the ice storm of December 2008 and I've not bothered to tidy up that wild part of the yard yet, a formidable amount of work.

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

The best Allium tricoccum I have found in the wild (and I haven't observed that many - 25?) have always been on an east facing gentle slope, and the best of those on the east side of fallen maple trunks that are just up hill (to the west) that give it extra protection from late day heat. 

And ditto for [i]Decentra canadensis[i].

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Leonard Lehman
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-03-08

As relatively new viewer, I am very interested in the Allium discussions. I have planted seed of several Alliums from the NARGS seed exchange and many are now emerging in my area. One species I can not find much info on is Allium vavillovii. I would greatly appreciate an cultural or links where I can find more about this intrigueing species.
Len Lehman
PS Our local Alleghany chapter of NARGs will be hosting the Eastern Study weekend in Oct. 12-14th, 2012 near Pittsburgh. Matt Mattus is scheduled to give a talk on Fall Blooming bulbs. Hope you all would consider coming as we will be at peak fall foliage color and have several great field trips planned for the event.

Len Lehman

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Hello Len,  welcome to the NARGS Forum, thanks for making the onion pages your first stop ;)  It is early for alliums, looking forward to the spring season advancing to start seeing some onion greenery.  The information on the Eastern Study weekend in Oct. 12-14th, 2012 near Pittsburgh sounds good, I'd like to make it to that one.  I hope to make it out to a Berkshire Chapter NARGS meeting this weekend (April 2nd), where our local Massachusetts native Matt Mattus is speaking.

Regarding Allium vavilovii, this is the species thought to be the ancient wild ancestor of the vegetable onion, or Allium cepa.  Onions (A. cepa) have been cultivated for thousands of years, and as such, is not known from the wild, but is thought to have derived from early introduction of closely allied species centuries ago, namely A. vavilovii from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, or possibly A. oschaninii (from the same geographical area).  It is indeed hard to find much information on these, at least in the ornamental horticultural realm, because they are mostly studied in scientific terms as an agricultural crop.  Appearance-wise, it will look very similar to regular onions or A. cepa, having hollow inflated leaves, and dense ball-like heads of whitish flowers.  Personally I have not grown this species, although have tried a few ornamental sorts that are closely allied, such as A. pskemense, which is indeed weirdly ornamental and a cool plant.

An excellent resource for alliums is the Taxonomic Allium Reference Collection, hosted at the Institute of Plant Genetics in Gatersleben, Germany. See the link below, from the Allium 2010 topic, with some tips on how to use and navigate this database.
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=177.msg4950#msg4950

Allium vavilovii, in the Taxonomic Allium Reference Collection, has 4 records... the last record has two images of A. vavilovii.
(tip:  click on the little paper icon on the left of a record, then use right or left arrow keys to move through the records... if a record has thumbnail images, click on them to enlarge the image)
http://pgrc-35.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=265:3:248087226952...

Abstract on a recent paper on A. vavilovii and a new Iranian species, A. asarense:
Full paper is $34, rather annoying, considering most of what is on the web is free.  If you're interested in that paper, I can ask the author (Dr. Reinhard Fritsch) if he can share a copy.  
"Allium vavilovii M. Popov et Vved. and a new Iranian species are the closest among the known relatives of the common onion A. cepa L. (Alliaceae)"
http://www.springerlink.com/content/p8m2p755t361417p/

photo of a blooming plant in a garden setting:
http://www.alltomtradgard.se/_internal/cimg!0/69bu796aq6gm68xjw7jw9napkv8x4zp
...inflated leaves:
http://www.alltomtradgard.se/_internal/cimg!0/4gnvk2q1hxv1ho7hskwajmpwn8srk6d

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Wow, I am very surprised how close the species looks to our present vegetable onion.  I think I would get a lot of funny looks from visiting gardeners if I grew that.  On the other hand, they would be just as surprised as me!

Hi Len.  Glad you stopped in!  There's always good, informative allium talk here with the Onion Man (Mark).

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Barstow
Barstow's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-08-27

Hoy wrote:

The plant is much used as a culinary herb (among certain people ;)

My first post, having lurked in the undergrowth for some time!

Hello Hoy! I believe I'm one of those "certain people" and proud of it! :)

Mark: You knew how to entice me out of the bushes, didn't you - posting some pictures of some tasty smelly variegated onions - my favourite subject!

Re- Allium tricoccum germination - my experience that it typically takes 2 years before they start popping up, so patience is important! Haven't had a lot of success with them over here in Norway. Most have simply disappeared (only one has survived for several years but doesn't get any bigger). I planted another batch last year, so I haven't given up yet.  I wonder if our summers are too cool and wet (but I note Mark’s comment of dryness also being a problem – narrow ecological requirements it seems? – this is a species that has a summer rest. Haven’t seen it elsewhere in Europe apart from in Kew Gardens, which makes me suspect it is difficult.  It’s also not listed by the comprehensive RHS Plant Finder (http://apps.rhs.org.uk/rhsplantfinder).  I rembering reading some time ago. As I’ve understood it ramsons (ursinum) and ramps (tricoccum) are only distant relatives Allium-wise, despite the resemblance. I’ve only once tried to germinate ursinum – I received a Russian “cultivated” form (from the Caucasus), but it didn’t germinate. I live near the world’s most northern ursinum site – a place called “Ramslia”!

Re- Allium vavilovii: I had seed of this early 2000s and I decided that the plant that materialized was nothing more than fistulosum and removed it (perhaps I was wrong!). Received more seed (from Sweden) in 2007, but those plants died in a very cold winter. Planted a new one from the same batch last year, so I hope I’ll have a chance to study it more closely next summer.

P.S: My avatar is a salad with Allium ursinum flowers  (Yes, I agree – an improvement on my SRGC avatar). 

Stephen Barstow
Malvik, Norway
63.4N
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

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