Common names: Ornamental onion, tumbleweed onion
Allium schubertii is one of a number of allium species grown as an ornamental landscape plant. It is native from the eastern Mediterranean to central Asia. A. schubertii bears spiky heads of flowers atop stout scapes of varying lengths. Each large, globe-shaped flower head can have one hundred or more tiny, star-shaped florets. Strap-shaped basal green leaves surround the scape, and wither as the flower blooms.
A. schubertii is a plant that supports pollinator populations by providing lots of nectar and pollen. It can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
The genus name comes from the Latin word for 'garlic'. The specific epithet honours Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert, a German physician and naturalist. Dried seed heads that fall to the ground will tumble along the ground with the wind, spreading the seeds, hence the common name 'tumbleweed onion'.
Allium schubertii can be found in the Mediterranean Garden. The photos were taken in June of 2022.
Text and photos by Kumi Sutcliffe