Nothoscordum bivalve (L.) Britton

False Garlic

Nothoscordum bivalve plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - From bulb. Aerial stems to +25cm tall, 2-3mm in diameter, glabrous, hollow.

Leaves - Basal, linear, glabrous, to +15cm long, 3-4mm broad.

Inflorescence - Umbels of +/-8 flowers terminating aerial stems, subtended by scarious bracts.

Nothoscordum bivalve bractBase of inflorescence.

Flowers - Tepals 6, greenish at base, fading to white at apex, free, to 1cm long, 3.5mm broad, glabrous, oblong. Stamens 6, borne at base of tepals. Filaments to 4mm long, glabrous. Anthers yellow, 3mm long, 1mm broad. Style 1, glabrous, 4mm long. Ovary superior, glabrous, with 3 locules, many seeded.

Nothoscrodum bivalve flowerFlower close-up.

Nothoscordum flower with flyFlower with six-legged visitor.

Flowering - March - May and perhaps again in early fall.

Habitat - Open fields, prairies, glades, streambanks, roadsides.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This is a tiny yet unmistakable lily. It resembles other small lilies such as garlic but has no garlic scent to it and hence acquires the common name "False garlic." It is common throughout most of the state below the Missouri river but does grow in some counties north of the river also.

Photographs taken off Highway 21, Chatham County, NC., 4-23-03, and off Lee Rd 54, Lee County, AL., 3-13-06.