Monday, March 21, 2016

Texas Wildflowers - False Garlic

False Garlic

False Garlic (nothoscordum bivalve) is sprouting up everywhere in Texas right now. Growing from a bulb, and flowering in clumps, it rises above the bermuda grass found in most lawns.  Although false garlic is also known as crow poison - everyone assumes the wildflower to be poisonous. However, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower experts - there is "no creditable references ... saying that Nothoscordum bivalve (Crow poison) is poisonous."  This doesn't mean you should volunteer to test that theory -- it could be toxic or at least make you sick.  The Ozark Wildflowers website states that  "Cherokee legend tells that they would use this plant to make a poison that would kill the crows eating their corn."  However, further research using the all-knowing internet, I could not confirm the legend and one site (Native American Legends, Bird Tribes) stated that although crows could be found in many Native American beliefs, legends, etc. - they weren't included in the Cherokee mythology.  So, maybe they weren't revered as in other Native cultures - leading to the belief that they would possibly want to poison them? Don't know - good questions - and the common name had to originate from somewhere. 

False Garlic isn't listed in Delena Tull's Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest guide either - so for myself, I'm going to assume this wildflower's purpose is for our viewing pleasure, add color to the sea of grasses, photography, and wildlife (attracts bees and butterflies). If you're in to pressing flowers, its best to gather these at mid-day. 

 If anyone happens to know additional information on this wildflower - I'd love to hear about it! 

(I apologize for the text background color -- technical difficulties -- it happens.)

The Native Plant Society of Texas recommends that no flower be picked from a colony of fewer than 100 plants and as a reminder - never dig or remove a wildflower from TxDOT rights of way or private property without permission.

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