Common name: Star of Persia, Ornamental Onion
Allium cristophii is native to Iran, Turkey, and Turkmenistan. Its flowers are star-shaped and silvery-violet, and each flower forms a 20-25 cm/8 in- wide globe-shaped cluster. Although the flower lacks fragrance, it is rich in pollen and nectar, making it very attractive to bees and other pollinators. The leaves are long and slightly glaucous, withering as the blooms appear. Like other alliums, the leaves and bulbs have an oniony aroma when cut or bruised. A. cristophii blooms are excellent for cutting and drying.
It is thought that the specific epithet was given to honour Dr. Cristoph, a physician and plant collector who gathered the first sample of A. cristophii to be described.
Allium cristophii can be found in the Mediterranean Garden.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe