Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa'

Plants that actually reach their peak in October, at least in this part of the country, are few and far between, making them a real treasure to gardeners and garden visitors alike. One of my favourites is Allium thunbergii 'Ozawa' for its near electric-violet flowers in loose "balls" called umbels.

It is a dwarf variety introduced to North America by George Schenk, and likely named after the original selector. The species is also known as the Japanese Onion, although as far as I know, it is not used for any culinary purposes. It is native to low mountains in Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu and extending from Japan into South Korea.

Unfortunately, this plant is relatively rare, although specialty mail-order and/or bulb companies might offer it on occasion.

Here's to dirt under your nails.

MPD, the coolplantsguy


Acantholimon said...

I agree this is a fabulous plant: I admired it this morning at Denver Botanic Gardens where we have a bank with dozens in full bloom in Plantasia.

We had a severe frost last weekend (down to 16F) that put an abrupt end to most fall color, and many "hardy" perennials in bloom (Japanese anemones are blackened, and many asters, for instance). But this little onion came through with flying colors!

There is a white form too that's just as tough.

Mari Anne said...

ops, and then my list of "must have plants" got even longer. Early spring and late autumn plants are a must when winters are so long.

coolplantsguy said...

Thanks. It's funny, I just noticed that I have it planted right beside Helleborus Ivory Prince, likely the first plant to bloom in my garden.