Snowbell (Allium triquetrium)

Allium triquetrium (snowbell) is a plant you might have considered as many other things, possibly a white bluebell, wild garlic or maybe a snowdrop. This could be why it has attributed so many names, most commonly; three-cornered garlic, three-cornered leek, onion weed, three-sided snowbell, to name a few. It can be identified by its garlic /onion smell, its three narrow leaves and an upright three angled stem that bears white bell shaped flowers. The plant is about 30cm high.

Photo credit: Paul Hunter, Cregagh Glen

You may have noted from its name Allium (a genus of plants that include onion, garlic and chives) or its list of common names, that it is an edible plant. As a plant it will be very recognisable to any foragers and while we do not recommend it, the entire plant is edible.

The Snowbell, is a non native plant which was introduced to the UK during the 1700’s and has established itself with great and continued success. Unfortunately this success has meant that it can outcompete other spring flowers like primroses and violets. As a result In England and Wales it is registered as a non-native invasive plant which means it is illegal to plant or grow.

Photo credit: Aaron Matchett

Where to find it??

If you look in late autumn (just at or under the soil surface) you will be able to see new growth emerging from a small white bulb. More easily it can be seen from March to June flowering along roadsides, in hedges banks and other shady places. Scattered populations are increasingly recorded in both town and country and with a salt-tolerance it also enjoys various coastal settings. Within The Greenway it grows along the riversides and in large scattered drifts at Cregagh Glen.

Be Part of it..

Why not make use of the lighter nights and venture through the Greenway to Cregagh Glen. We would love to see your pictures and hear how many other places you can locate it. Please send us your pics and What’s Growing suggestions.