by Preston Brady III, Herbscapes.com
Society Garlic, Herbscapes.com 2023
A plant thought to have originated in South Africa, this plant more resembles chives, and is known professionally as Tulbaghia Violacea. According to Google Bard, the term society garlic is thought to have originated in South Africa sometime in the 1700’s when the Dutch were colonizing the area. They noted the taste of this plant was similar to garlic, but milder. I do not recall the plant pictured above, blooming the purple flowers they usually do, but it’s still summer in the deep south of the USA and its’ possible it will still bloom. Some gardeners use society garlic as an ornamental plant, for its blade-like appearance and of course the flowers, but others use the plant in salads and cooking. I like adding a few snips to a finished entree such as cashew chicken, pizza, even steak. Although one would be best to consult a doctor for their own individual medical needs, society garlic is said to help relieve high blood pressure and some respiratory illnesses. I bought several plants from the Mobile Botanical Gardens, but if you want to order a plant of two online, I found a few on Amazon you might like. There are also links to seeds if you want to grow your own.
One other good thing about society garlic – it’s a perennial, so it will come back to you each spring, at least for a few years, perhaps more. So, if your plant dies back in the winter, don’t dig it up and plant something else. It’s there sleeping, waiting for the warmth of spring.