Monday, June 14, 2010

Garlic inflorescence

Inflorescence refers to the way flowers are positioned on a stalk, and on the ornamental garlic plant this reminds me a little of dandelion clocks. Garlic (Allium) is a member of the Amaryllis family, which also includes leeks and shallots, both of which bear a relatively long stalk. Indeed, the word garlic comes from old English garleac, meaning 'spear leak'. However, the garlic stalk is in fact called a 'scape', and these can often adopt interesting forms, which in turn remind me of a local tree here, le Faux de Verzy, which is a variety of twisted beech (but that will be for another rainy day!), and then of course the corkscrew hazel in the garden (whose branches are presently camouflaged by spring leaves).
Garlic has been doted with medicinal and even spiritual powers over the centuries - and according to one Christian myth garlic grew in the left footprint of Satan as he fled the Garden of Eden, while onion grew from his right....

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