Wednesday, 23 November 2016


Tulbaghia violacea, also known as society garlic or pink agapanthus, is a species of flowering plant in the onion family Amaryllidaceae, indigenous to southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Province), and reportedly naturalised in Tanzania and Mexico. Growing to 60 cm tall by 25 cm wide, it is a clump-forming perennial with narrow pungent-smelling leaves and large clusters of fragrant, violet flowers from midsummer to autumn. When grown as an ornamental, this plant requires some protection from winter frosts. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Tulbaghia violacea grows very easily in most soils. It can be used as an edging plant, along a pathway, or can be displayed to great advantage in a rockery and can also be mass planted to form a groundcover, in sunny or partially shaded positions. It thrives in well-drained soil containing plenty of compost. Propagate from seed or by dividing larger clumps. The hard black seeds are best sown in spring in deep seed trays and can be planted out during their second year. Once the clumps that have been divided are planted, they should be left undisturbed for as long as possible. First flowering can generally be expected in the second or third year. Tulbaghia seldom falls prey to pests and diseases, but slugs and snails can cause considerable damage to the foliage.

This attractive plant is ideal for the herb garden, as both the leaves and flowers can be used in salads and other dishes. The Zulus use the leaves and flowers as spinach and as a hot, peppery seasoning with meat and potatoes. They also use the bulb to make an aphrodisiac medicine. The crushed leaves may be used to help cure sinus headaches and to discourage moles from the garden (by their strong smell). The smell repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes when crushed on the skin. Wild garlic is a very good snake repellent and for this reason the Zulus plant it around their homes.

Recently it was demonstrated to have androgenic and anti-cancer properties in vitro. T. violacea exhibited antithrombotic activities which were higher than those found in garlic. Wild garlic may prove to have the same or similar antibacterial and antifungal activities as has been scientifically verified for real garlic. In herbal medicine, the fresh bulbs are boiled in water and the decoctions are taken orally to clear up coughs and colds. The bulb has been used as a remedy for pulmonary tuberculosis and to destroy intestinal worms. The leaves are used in adjunctive treatment of cancer of the oesophagus.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.

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