Category Archives: Onions

Red-tailed bumblebee: new species for the garden

Yesterday, I registered red-tailed bee / steinhumle (Bombus lapidarius) for the first time at the community garden (Væres Venner), the first time in this part of Trondheim. This is a common species in the city and is probably the commonest bumblebee in the Allium garden at the botanical gardens. Today, I saw this species for the first time in my own garden, the first record in this area.  It was on Allium pskemense, probably the most popular plant in my garden for bumblebees. In the second video you can see both the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum; lys jordhumle) and tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum; trehumle). Please correct me if I’m wrong!

Allium atroviolaceum: Caucasian Turkish garlic

Allium atroviolaceum is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental. I’ve been growing it for some 15 years now and it is admittedly not very productive as an edimental under my conditions, but it’s nevertheless a beauty and it is currently coming into flower both in my own garden and the Allium garden at the Ringve Botanical Garden in Trondheim, where the pictures below were taken.  Its wild distribution is in the Crimea, Caucasus, Middle Asia (Mountainous Turkmenistan, Syr-Darya foothill areas) and Iran.

 

In the Armenian Highlands in Eastern Turkey, there are several ethnobotanical studies documenting its use in local food, presumably wild collected, although there are indications that it might also be cultivated for food including:
1) In otlu peyniri, a herbed cheese made out of sheep’s or cow’s milk. it is used as a flavouring along with many other species (from Wikipedia):
Ranunculus polyanthemos L.(Ranunculaceae)
Nasturtium officinale R. Br. (Brassicaceae)
Gypsophila L. spp. (Caryophyllaceae)
Silene vulgaris (Maench) Garcke var. vulgaris (Caryophyllaceae)
Anthriscus nemorosa (Bieb.) Sprengel (Apiaceae)
Carum carvi L. (Apiaceae)
Anethum graveolens L. (Apiaceae)
Prangos pabularia Lindl. (Apiaceae)
Prangos ferulacea (L.) Lind. (Apiaceae)
Ferula L. sp. (Apiaceae)
Ferula orientalis L. (Apiaceae)
Ferula rigidula DC. (Apiaceae)
Thymus kotschyanus Boiss. et Hohen. var. glabrescens Boiss. (Lamiaceae)
Thymus migricus Klokov et Des. – Shoct. (Lamiaceae)
Mentha spicata L. subsp. spicata (Lamiaceae)
Ziziphora clinopodioides Lam. (Lamiaceae)
Ocimum basilicum L. (Lamiaceae)
Eremurus spectabilis Bieb. (Liliaceae)
Allium schoenoprasum L. (Liliaceae)
Allium fuscoviolaceum Fomin (Liliaceae)
Allium scorodoprasum L.subsp. rotundum(L.)Stearn (Liliaceae)
Allium aucheri Boiss. (Liliaceae)
Allium paniculatum L. subsp. paniculatum (Liliaceae)
Allium akaka S. G. Gmelin (Liliaceae)
Allium cf. cardiostemon Fisch. et Mey. (Liliaceae)
2) In another study, the young shoots are used in various dishes and as a flavouring with yoghurt. It us used both boiled and raw. The bulbs are used to replace garlic in food.
Local names in Turkey include sirmo, körmen, and yabani sarimsak.




The Allium garden at Ringve

19th June 2020: Video update from the Allium (Chicago) garden at the NTNU Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim. The heat wave has brought many species into flower and the garden’s looking great! 
The official opening of the garden, planned for August, has been postponed to 2021. We are working on plant signs which will hopefully be added later in the summer.
The garden currently contains some 300 accessions including around 100 Allium species and many old Norwegian onions collected over several years from all over the country and funded by Norsk Genressurssenteret and Landbruksdirektoratet.
The signs for the garden are in part funded through a gift from Skjærgaarden (https://www.skjaergaarden.no) to KVANN (Norwegian Seed Savers) who have decided to use the gift at Ringve (see https://www.facebook.com/skjaergaarden.no/videos/2972781459487864)

SO/TR Pizza

I have a feeling that no one else had this pizza last night! SO/TR? Sherpa Onion/Turkish Rocket of course, better known (to the botanist) as AW/BO or Allium wallichii/Bunias orientalis two of my June perennial vegetables, the young shoots of the onion (one of the latest Alliums to show it’s still alive in the spring) and the delicious broccolis of Turkish rocket. We turned it into pizza as we were making Danish sourdough rye bread (using the 24 hour bake at 70C method) and had made extra dough.




Garden wild green soup

Last night we made a green pea soup and apart from the Hablitzia (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde), I used perennial vegetables growing in a wild part of the garden. With little or no help from me there’s a bounty of wild edibles in this area under wild hazels (Corylus avellana) and this made for a delicious pea soup with masses of greens. 
Campanula latifolia is documented as used in spring soups in the 16th century in my area in Norway and Heracleum shoots are also a tradional soup ingredient, in particular Russian borsch now thought of as a beetroot soup was originally made with hogweed shoots. 

A 65 Veggie Pakora at 65

To celebrate my 65th we made indian pakora with 65 (or so) different perennial vegetables. Going for a new title, this time EPM (Extreme Pakora Man)! Any better? The whole list is under the pictures!
Just wish I’d had broad / fava bean (bondebønner) flour available for the pakoras rather than gram flour (chick peas)…next time I hope :)

Begonia heracleifolia var nigricans (leaf petiole)
Cilantro / Bladkoriander
Dill
Oxalis triangularis (two varieties)
Gynostemma  pentaphyllum (sweet tea vine)
Crithmum maritimum (rock samphire / sanktpeterskjerm)
Parsley / persille
Garlic / Hvitløk “Valdres”
Garlic / Hvitløk “Lochiel”
Garlic / Hvitløk (sprouts)
Chenopodium ambrosioides (epazote / sitronmelde)
Chrysanthemum coronarium “Chopsuey  Greens”
Perennial kale / flerærige kål “Heligoland”
Perennial kale / flerærige kål “Daubenton Variegated”
Urtica dioica (nettle / nesle)
Hablitzia tamnoides (Caucasian spinach / stjernemelde)
Allium ursinum (ramsons / ramsløk)
Hydrophyllum virginianum (Virginia waterleaf, Indian salad)
Primula elatior (oxlip / hagenøkleblom)
Primula “Sunset shades”
Rhubarb / rabarbra “Victoria”
Rhubarb / rabarbra “Træna”
Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion / pipeløk)
Allium cernuum (Chicago onion, nodding onion / prærieløk)
Myrrhis odorata (sweet cicely / Spansk kjørvel)
Sium sisarum (skirret / sukkerrot)
Heracleum sphondylium (common hogweed / kystbjørnekjeks)
Allium scorodoprasum (sand leek / bendelløk, skogløk)
Taraxacum officinale (dandelion / løvetann) (leaves, roots and flowers)
Matteuccia struthiopteris (ostrich fern / strutseving)
Houttuynia cordata “Chinese Market”
Allium carolinianum
Allium schoenoprasum (chives / gressløk)
Rheum palmatum var tanguticum (Turkey rhubarb/  prydrabarbra)
Bistorta officinalis (bistort / ormerot)
Allium x proliferum (walking onion / luftløk) “Amish Topset”
Campanula latifolia (giant bellflower / storklokke)
Aegopodium podograria (ground elder / skvallerkål)
Carum carvi (caraway / karve) (leaves)
Aralia cordata (udo) (short blanched shoot)
Crambe maritima (sea kale / strandkål)
Allium douglasii (Douglas’ onion / Douglas-løk)
Allium nutans (Siberian nodding onion / sibirsk nikkeløk)
Hemerocallis spp. (day lily / daglilje)
Allium victorialis (victory onion / seiersløk) “Lofoten”
Rumex acetosa (sorrel / engsyre)
Levisticum officinale (lovage / løpstikke) (blanched)
Smilacina racemosa ( false spikenard / toppkonvall) “Emily Moody” (blanched)
Hosta “Frances Williams”
Tragopogon pratensis (Jack-go-to-bed-by-noon / geitskjegg)
Barbarea vulgaris ssp arcuata (winter yellowcress / vinterkarse)
Barbarea vulgaris ssp vulgaris (winter yellowcress / vinterkarse)
Allium paradoxum var normale (few-flowered leek)
Angelica archangelica ssp archangelica v. Majorum  (Angelica / kvann) “Vossakvann”
Dystaenia takesimana (Ulleung giant celery)
Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard / løkurt)
Rudbeckia lacinata (Cherokee greens)
Armoracia rusticana (horseradish / pepperrot) (blanched greens)
Rumex patientia (patience dock / hagesyre)
Allium pskemense
Taraxacum sublaciniosum “Delikatess” (dandelion / løvetann) “Moss-leaved dandelion”
Taraxacum albidum
Phyteuma nigra (black rampion / svartvadderot) (greens)
(Golpar was in the pakora batter along with chili, ajwain and black onion seed, Nigella)










 

Victory falafels

Falafels can be home grown over most of Norway and if we are serious about climate change should become standar fare in kitchens, restaurants and supermarkets throughout the country.  Dig for VICTORY against climate change!
The ingredients:
Broad beans / fava beans (bondebønner); grown in Malvik and stored dried
Victory onion (seiersløk) grows particularly well in the arctic (or replace with garlic or ramsons)
Golpar (spice from ground seed of any member of the Heracleum genus, including invasive Tromsøpalme, Heracleum persicum)
Barley flour (bygg) – I used100% whole grain
Eggs to bind
Fry in oil (sorry, I used imported olive oil)
(Optional: house grown chilis)
Decoration: Oxalis triangularis
 

Earliness and diversity in Victory Onion

Victory onion or seiersløk (Allium victorialis) in Norwegian has one of the most widespread geographic distributions in the Allium genus from the Pyrenees  to the Far East. In Norway, it’s naturalised in the Lofoten Islands, a few places in Nordland county and one location in Hardanger (Granvin). There is evidence to believe that it was originally introduced to Norway by the Vikings. I have plants from different parts of its range in my garden and there is a large difference between them as to when they begin to shoot in the spring, the ones deriving from Japan leafing out a few weeks earlier than the ones from Europe and Norway, although a plant received as Allium ochotense (nowadays considered by most as a synonym of A. victorialis), which originated in the Tromsø botanical garden, is probably from the Russian Far East and is also a late variety. Below are pictures of most of my plants taken on 19th and 20th April 2020. I have about 5 other accessions, two not big enough to photograph, one from the Kola peninsular has not grown well and will be moved to a new location, 3 more were planted this spring. two donated by the Oslo botanical garden and one a variegated form from Japan: Allium victorialis subsp. platyphyllum ‘Chiri Fu’.

1) From a seed trade with Iku Kubota in Japan in 2002.

2) From Tei Kobayashi in Japan in 2016 (subsp. platyphyllum or broad-leaved victory onion) has a flower bud extending

3) From seed from the Reykjavik botanical garden in 2009, originatin from the Sakhalin in the Russian Far East. This one also has a flower bud and has broadish leaves.

4) Received from the Tromsø botanical garden in 2002

5) From Granvin in Norway in 2012

6) From Merete in Lofoten in 2003

7) From Anja Angelsen. Krogtoft, Vestvågøy, Lofoten, Norway (2009)
8) From Massif Central in the French Alps (kindly sent to me by the Haut-Chitelet alpine garden in 2013)
9) From naturalised plants in Hopen, Nordland, Norway in 201310) Probably Allium victorialis Cantabrica AMH 7827 (collected by Antoine Michael Hoog, the son of one of the founders from Van Tubergen); I received it as Cantabria in 2008.