False Sea Onion

This plant is also known by other common names of Sea Onion, German Onion, German Flower, Healing Onion or Meerzwiebel and originates from Africa where it is said that the plant parts are used for some medicines.

False Sea Onion, is an interesting bulbous plant native to South Africa. The bulb grows above ground and will reach up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. The strap-like leaves are semi-succulent and will reach up to 36 inches (1 m) in length. It is an easy plant to grow and it is well suited for containers. Words of warnings, though: contact dermatitis is common in people who handle the bulbs. Blooming Time: The small white flowers with a green stripe usually flower from May to August. There may be as many as 50 to 100 flowers per stalk. Culture: Ornithogalum caudatum are easy to culture. They need light shade to full sun with a well-drained soil. The plants are allowed to dry slightly in-between waterings,but if the plants are allowed to dry too much, they will go dormant. During the winter months, the plants are allowed to go dormant and are stored in the cool greenhouse until spring. Propagation: Ornithogalum caudatum is propagated from bulbils that are formed on the sides of the main bulb or by seed. .

Besides its use as an ornamental, the False Sea Onion was utilized in the past for medicinal purposes. Crushed leaves were tied over cuts and bruises to speed healing, and the bulb was cooked into a syrup with rock candy to cure colds. This is another plant species from South Africa,
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Click picture for large view

The plant has an unusual growth habit where the new bulbils are produced
on the side of the main bulb or from the base. The following
photographs shows the process to bulbils production.
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Ornithogalum
Species: caudatum
Synonym: Category: Perenial bulb
Height: ~48 in. (60 cm)
Spacing: ~36in. (100 cm)
Hardiness: Tender
Sun Exposure: Semi to full sun
Bloom Color: White with green edge to petals
Bloom Time: Mid Spring to Summer
Foliage: Thick, long, smooth, succulent straps
Other details: Medicinal uses and can cause skin trouble
Water needs: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; allow to dry out slightly
Soil pH requirements: Neutral to alkalines free draining
Propagation Methods: From bulbils
From seed; Plant willl go dormant if allow to dry out.

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