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The bulbs of Wild Garlic are edible and making a tea from them has historically been used to control coughs and vomiting. Rabbits and deer tend to avoid eating any of the Allium species due to the onion scent and the strong flavor of the foliage. Allium canadense attracts hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. Smaller bees such as onion bees, masked bees, mason bees, and plasterer bees are important pollinators for this plant.
The nectar and pollen of the flowers attract the Onion Bee (Heriades carinatum), mason bees (Hoplitis spp.), Stelid bees (Stelis spp.), Halictid bees (Lasioglossum spp.), plasterer bees (Colletes spp.), masked bees (Hylaeus spp.), Syrphid flies, bee flies (Bombylius spp.), and wasps. Other insects suck plant juices, feed on bulbs, and other parts of Wild Garlic and other Allium spp. These species include the Green Stink Bug (Acrosternum hilaris), the Onion Plant Bug (Lindbergocapsus allii), larvae of the False Japanese Beetle (Strigoderma arbicola), the Onion Maggot (Delia antiqua), larvae of the Black Onion Fly (Tritoxa flava), larvae of the Onion Bulb Fly (Eumerus strigatus),This is the most common species of native onion (Allium sp.) in Illinois. Wild Garlic (Allium canadense) can be readily distinguished from other native onions, such as the Cliff Onion (Allium stellatum) and Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum), by the presence of aerial bulblets in its inflorescence. An introduced onion in Illinois, Field Garlic (Allium vineale), also produces such bulblets. However, the leaves of Field Garlic are elliptic in cross-section with a hollow interior (at least at their bases), while Wild Garlic has leaves that are flat and solid throughout. There is a variety of the Wild Garlic (Allium canadense var. mobilense) that produces only flowers, rather than bulblets and flowers, or only bulblets. However, it is less common than the typical variety, as shown in the photographs.
Names: The genus, Allium, is Latin for garlic, very appropriate in this species; the species, canadense refers to Canada. The author name for the plant classification - 'L.' refers to Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778), Swedish botanist and the developer of the binomial nomenclature of modern taxonomy. The assigned family class is in flux currently. A number of authorities moved the old world species of Allium from the Lily (Liliaceae) family and placed them in the Alliaceae. Most botanists accept that but the move of the new world species into the Alliaceae has been resisted by some pending molecular studies. Minnesota authorities at the U of M Herbarium have accepted the move.Wild Garlic is one of is one of six Allium species known to Minnesota plus one which is considered a garden hybrid. The six natives are: A. canadense, Wild Garlic; A. cernuum, Nodding Wild Onion; A. schoenoprasum, Wild Chives; A. stellatum, Prairie Onion; A. textile, White Wild Onion; and A. tricoccum, Wild Leek: Four of the species are found in the Garden - A. canadense and the three with links to information sheets. (Source: www.friendsofthewildflowergarden.org)