Allium listera 

This species was collected in China by Darrell Probst, of Epimedium fame and his nursery in
Hubbardston, Massachusetts known as Garden Vision.  Darrell kindly shared two collections
of this species, only one of which prospered (the other sadly destroyed by tunneling voles and
chipmunks). This is one of several whimsical Chinese alliums with hosta-like leaves that fool all
who see it (when not in bloom) into thinking it is indeed a hosta (see the image at the bottom).
The plant was given to me as Allium sp. China, with the ensuing ID based on the Flora of China.

In 2007, five bloom stalks appeared, growing 16" tall, the florets beginning to open the 3rd week
of July. There is a simple and delicate grace about them, the lavender pink pedicels lending a
 magic quality to the otherwise modest bloom heads. Unlike some of the other Chinese alliums
I'm growing, for which no seed is produced, this one had a small but productive seed set, which
has been sown for hope of increasing stock.



In the view below, the entire plant can be seen, the several host-like leaves at the bottom center, and
to the right is the foliage of a small Hosta venusta hybrid. The plant is growing in open shade for most
of the day, getting full sun for a couple hours midday, then shaded from the hot afternoon sun by a row

of hemlocks.



 In the view below, taken in a previous year, we can get a good idea of the foliage.  However,
another unique aspect of this species, for which I haven't taken a good photo yet, is that
the early spring foliage emerges a deep ruddy brown-red color, the unfurling leaves waxy
and shiny with the odd carnal coloration; simply fantastic! 



Photos by Mark McDonough

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Images and textual content copyright 2007 Mark McDonough

This page was last updated on 09/08/07