Local Wild Plant Profile: Wild Garlic

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Photo of Wild Garlic Bulbs

Wild Garlic (allium vineale) is a commonly found plant throughout Michigan. It is commonly found growing in full sun in fields and along roadsides. Wild Garlic is also frequently known as Crow Garlic.

It is distinguished by its strong onion/garlic odor and parts of the plant can be used throughout the year.

Identification

Wild Garlic comes up early in the spring when its leaves can be used like chives. Wild Garlic grows to be 12 to 18 inches tall with hollow gray-green leaves (which tend to be tough) emerging from a small bulb.

Here’s a close-up of the leaves coming up out of the ground:

Wild Garlic Leaves

Wild garlic has a strong smell of garlic and onion that comes from all parts of the plant, but especially the bulb.

As wild garlic grows throughout the season, it begins to produce flowers:

Photo of Wild Garlic Flower

Early Stage of Wild Garlic Flower

garlic-03

Wild Garlic Flower Emerges

Photo of Wild Garlic Flowers

Wild Garlic Flowers

Harvesting

All parts of Wild Garlic can be eaten, depending on the season. In the spring, leaves can be used like chives. In the summer, the flowers can be used in salads. To use the leaves and the flowers of Wild Garlic, just cut them off.

To use the bulbs in place of garlic, pull the plant from the ground. When you pull the plant, you will find a bulb that resembles domesticated forms of garlic:

Photo of Wild Garlic Bulbs

Wild Garlic Bulbs

There will often be a main bulb surrounded by smaller bulblets. To use the bulbs, peel the papery coating off as you would with other types of garlic:

Photo of Wild Garlic Bulbs and Bulblets

Wild Garlic Bulb and Bulblets

The bulblets can be planted to help keep the plant growing and can be incorporated into a garden.

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