Tulbaghia violacea (Non-native)
Tulbaghia violacea is a clumping evergreen perennial with fat, tuberous roots that emerge flexible grass-like 1-foot long by 1/4 inch broad blue-green leaves. From spring into fall, and sometimes longer in frost-free areas, arise slender stalks 18 to 24 inches high, topped by an umbel of about 10 to 20 small lavender flowers. The foliage has a strong garlic-like odor on warm days and is bruised by touching or frost.
Plant in full sun to light shade with occasional to regular irrigation - somewhat drought tolerant but always looks better with more frequent watering. Hardy and evergreen to around 23°F but root hardy to around 0°F and valuable in USDA Zone 7 and above. This plant is helpful as a low-border plant or for the edge of the lawn, a pond, or even in shallow water, but one must keep in mind the smell when deciding where to plant it as it can be powerful, and some find it objectionable. This smell controls animals (cats, dogs, deer away, and perhaps even snails and slugs). Still, it uses rubber gloves when deadheading and resists using the flowers indoors for flower arrangements. The leaves and flowers can be used raw or cooked in food preparation.
This plant comes from southern Africa (KwaZulu-Natal and Cape Province), where it grows along forest margins and stream banks and is used for food and medicine by the indigenous Zulu tribes.
Light: Full Sun, Part Shade
Zone: 7, 8, 9, 10
Origin: South Africa