Tulbaghia brachystemma Kunth
Tulbaghia campanulata N.E.Br.
Tulbaghia cernua Avé-Lall.
Tulbaghia inodora Gaertn.
Tulbaghia narcissiflora Salisb.
Common Name: Society Garlic
Society garlic is a stemless, perennial plant producing rosettes of grass-like leaves about 25cm tall from a swollen rhizome that can be 10cm long[
]. Plants grow from a cluster of small bulbs attached to a basal plate that is sometimes regarded as a rhizome[
]. The plant is usually evergreen but becomes dormant in areas with a cold or dry season[
The plant is sometimes gathered from the wild as a local source of food and medicines. It is occasionally grown as an ornamental.
Southern Africa - Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, S. Africa.
]. Clay or gravelly flats[
]. Found in a variety of habitats from lowland swamps to moist sandy meadows and barren ground, at elevations up to 2,000 metres[
A plant of the subtropics and tropics, it can also be cultivated in warmer parts of the temperate zone.
Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny sheltered position[
The plant is often a weed in gardens[
Young plants can commence flowering within 1 - 2 years from seed[
The flowers are very fragrant at night[
]. Another report says that they have an unpleasant smell[
]. The whole plant has a powerful aroma of garlic[
Members of this genus tend to hybridize freely in cultivation or if their wild ranges overlap[
Rhizome - cooked[
]. The rhizome is scraped clean and boiled in stews or roasted as a vegetable[
]. A mild, onion flavour[
Leaves and stems - cooked. A flavour like a mild onion[
]. They can be cooked like spinach or chopped fine and used as a relish or added to soups and stews[
Flowers. They are regarded as a delicacy by the native Zulu women[
The rhizome is laxative[
]. A decoction is used in the treatment of intestinal worms[
The bruised rhizome is used in baths for the relief of fever, rheumatism or paralysis[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe[
]. Sown in a sunny position, the seed usually germinates within 14 days at a temperatures of 18 - 21°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Division. Best carried out as the plant comes back into growth after dormancy.
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