Friday, May 20, 2016

Allium karataviense

Allium karataviense is a bulb with a flower about the size of a baseball.  The usual color of the flower is a very pale pink.  Allium karataviense 'Ivory Queen' has white flowers.  There is also an uncommon form named 'Red Globe'.  Allium karataviense blooms in May, earlier than most Allium, which generally bloom in June.  The plant is not very tall, maybe 6 to 8 inches.  Each bulb produces one flower & just a few blue-green leaves.  Allium karataviense spreads slowly by the division of the bulbs & also by seed.  It takes some years for the seedlings to flower, but one flower can produce many seedlings.  A large group of flowers may arise in dry & sunny locations with good drainage in winter.  There is no need for summer water.  Allium karataviense grows naturally in the dry mountains of Central Asia.  It is sometimes called the Turkestan onion.  I think this is one of the more beautiful Allium, both in leaf & in flower.  Rainwater is often cupped at the base of the leaf pairs like sparkling jewels.

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