Friday, February 27, 2009

Help me ID this plant?


Does anyone know what this is? It smells like garlic when it is stepped on, and is the first flower to appear in the spring. The flower is a little less than an inch across and more cornflower blue than shown in the photo.

I inherited it with the house when we moved in. It is a very cheery plant, if a bit smelly.

21 comments:

  1. Could it be Society garlic? Not a true garlic, but smells like it. Here's a link, see what you think (ooh, poetry): http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Alliaceae/Tulbaghia_violacea.html

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  2. Since I don't grow it, I can only offer this suggestion. It looks like it could be Ipheion, which is a member of the Allium family, which would account for its oniony odor.

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  3. I don't recognize it, but it's precious. This time of year, I'll take ANYTHING that blooms!

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  4. Susan,you need to ask Gail from Clay and Limestone. She'll know.~~Dee

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  6. Whatever it is, it is lovely. It is'nt wild garlic is it?

    Jen

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  7. It looks like Star Flowers (Ipheion uniflorum)

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

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  8. That flower is entirely foreign to me. It sure is pretty though! The leaves look like some kind of allium and the odor indicates that as well, but the flowers....

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  9. Hi Karen--I went ahead and deleted the double-post to save space; hope you don't mind.

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  10. Hi everyone--wow, if I ever need a plant ID in an emergency, I know where to turn! Thanks for all the responses.

    I thought about society garlic, but there is another allium that blooms a little later in almost the same spot and it seems more like society garlic than this. The photos of the Ipheion uniflorum that some of the others suggest look very much like this flower.

    I'm glad that I'm not the only one out there who didn't immediately know what this is. It has baffled me for years, and though I've looked through several books, I've never run across it.

    I do like this plant. It is really very sweet looking, and it is refreshing to see it everywhere in the backyard just before the rest of the garden wakes up.

    It naturalizes like crazy, and from time to time I thing I really out to dig some of it up, just to keep it under control. But it des back fairly quickly and then is gone for the rest of the summer, so it seems harmless to leave it to do its thing.

    Thanks for all your help. If anyone ha any other ideas, please feel free to chime in!

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  11. Hi Susan, I have to agree with MMD...It looks like Ipheion to me, too. It's adorable! gail

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  12. Sounds like it looks like a lot of things. Hope you figure it out, it's a sweet flower.

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  13. Such a whimsical little flower...would be nice to have show up in the spring. Now that you've identified it and determined it isn't invasive, I hope you'll enjoy it! So many brains put together helps make one whole one:)

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  14. The Spring Star Flower 'White Star', 'Ipheion uniflorum'?

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  15. Yes it is an Ipheion - I've got a few varieties in the garden. I'd forgotten about the onion smell till I divided a clump recently!

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  16. Well the overwhelming consensus seems to be Ipheion, aka "Spring Star Flower". I really appreciate everyone's help on this. It has bugged me for years. I had never seen it in any of the books I use, nor do I see it for sale at garden centers. I wonder if it is an uncommon garden flower in these parts, though I can't think why. It is totally maintenance free, and apart from the smelliness when you bruise the leaves, doesn't seem to have nay drawbacks. I wonder if it is an old-fashioned flower that was popular at one time and then fell out of favor...

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  17. I have those in my backyard - they were a bulb that came with a combination of bulbs - they have naturalized quite nicely and are blooming currently.

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  18. Hi, it's definitely Ipheion, as you figured out.

    I do think it was an old-fashioned bulb that fell out of fashion (maybe because of its tendency to naturalize in lawns or its oniony smell).

    Our first house in Georgia had the most lovely spring array of them interspersed throughout the front yard. I recently bought some Ipheion from Brent and Becky's bulbs, remembering how tough and unassuming they were.

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