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Field Garlic

Allium oleraceum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, riverbanks, roadsides, sand dunes, scrub, wasteland, wetland.

Variable in colour, 6 petals
The flowers consist on numerous small bulblets which are whitish-creamy and tinged with pink, brown or green.
A capsule which rarely produces seed. The seeds ripen from August to November.
A perennial flower which has between 2 and 4 linear, stalkless, light green, grass-like leaves. The leaves reach 50cm in length.
Smells of onions.
Other Names:
Crow Garlic, Meadow Garlic.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Allium oleraceum, also known as meadow garlic or crow garlic, is a species of wild onion that is native to Europe. It is a perennial plant that typically grows from a bulb, it produces a single stem with broad, dark green leaves and a dense umbel of small, white flowers. The plant has a strong garlic smell when the leaves are crushed.

It is considered a weed by some and can be found in gardens and fields, meadows, gardens and it is also able to grow in wetland. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8.

The leaves and bulbs are edible, but they have a strong onion flavor, they are not commonly used in culinary as other onion species and it is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens instead. Some studies report it to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.


Field garlic, also known as Allium oleraceum, is a wild relative of the common garlic plant. It is found in many parts of Europe, particularly in the northern regions, and is known for its distinctive flavor and aroma. In this blog, we'll explore the various aspects of field garlic, including its appearance, nutritional value, and culinary uses.

Appearance and Habitat

Field garlic grows to a height of about 30 to 50 cm and has long, narrow, grass-like leaves. The leaves are dark green in color, and the stem is usually slender and hollow. The plant produces small white flowers in the summer months, which are arranged in a loose, spherical cluster. The bulbs are small and can range from white to pink or purple in color.

Field garlic is commonly found in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides. It prefers nutrient-rich soil that is well-drained and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It is a hardy plant that can survive in cold temperatures and is often one of the first plants to appear in the spring.

Nutritional Value

Field garlic is a nutrient-rich plant that is low in calories and high in antioxidants. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium, iron, and potassium. It also contains sulfur compounds, which are responsible for its pungent flavor and aroma.

Culinary Uses

Field garlic has been used in cooking for centuries and is a popular ingredient in many traditional European dishes. The leaves and bulbs can be used raw or cooked and have a flavor that is similar to both garlic and onion. The leaves can be chopped and added to salads, soups, stews, and sauces, while the bulbs can be sliced and sautéed or roasted.

Field garlic can also be used to make pesto, which is a sauce made from crushed garlic, pine nuts, and olive oil. It can be used as a topping for pasta or as a dip for bread or vegetables. In addition, field garlic can be pickled, which preserves its flavor and makes it a tasty addition to sandwiches and salads.

Health Benefits

Field garlic has a number of health benefits, including its ability to boost immunity, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion. It is also believed to have anti-cancer properties, due to its high antioxidant content. Additionally, field garlic has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and skin problems.

Some Additional Facts about Field Garlic

Here are some additional details about field garlic that you may find interesting:

  1. Similar to other Allium species like onions, leeks, and garlic, field garlic contains allicin, which is a sulfur compound that has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

  2. Field garlic is a hardy plant that can grow in various soil conditions and is often found in coastal areas, meadows, and fields.

  3. Field garlic is known by various names in different regions. In some parts of Europe, it is called wild garlic, while in others, it is known as ramsons or bear garlic.

  4. The leaves of field garlic are similar in appearance to those of lily of the valley, which is a poisonous plant. However, field garlic leaves have a distinctive garlic smell that can help differentiate them from lily of the valley.

  5. Field garlic has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, and rheumatism.

  6. In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, field garlic has been used for other purposes, such as making natural dyes for textiles and as a repellent for pests like rabbits and deer.

  7. Field garlic is easy to cultivate and can be grown from seed or by dividing existing plants. It can be grown in pots or containers, making it a great addition to any herb garden or balcony.

Overall, field garlic is a fascinating plant that has a long history of use in traditional medicine and culinary traditions. Its unique flavor and aroma make it a popular ingredient in many dishes, while its nutritional benefits and medicinal properties make it a valuable addition to any diet. If you haven't tried field garlic yet, it's definitely worth giving it a try!

And some more facts

Here are a few more interesting facts about field garlic:

  1. Field garlic is a natural insect repellent. It contains sulfur compounds that are toxic to many insects, making it a natural alternative to chemical insecticides.

  2. Field garlic is considered a weed in some areas, but it is also cultivated for its culinary and medicinal uses. It is often grown in home gardens and used in cooking and herbal medicine.

  3. Field garlic is a valuable source of food for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Its flowers provide nectar and pollen, while its leaves offer shelter for small insects.

  4. Field garlic has a long history of use in traditional European cuisines. It is often used in soups, sauces, and stews, and is also used to flavor meats and vegetables.

  5. In some regions, field garlic is used as a natural remedy for colds and flu. It is believed to help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

  6. Field garlic has a mild laxative effect and is sometimes used to treat constipation. However, it should be consumed in moderation, as excessive consumption can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.

  7. Field garlic is a valuable source of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals. Antioxidants have been linked to a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

In conclusion, field garlic is a versatile and fascinating plant that has many culinary, medicinal, and ecological benefits. Whether you're using it in the kitchen or in the garden, field garlic is a plant that is definitely worth getting to know.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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