Help identifying mystery onions

TwinCitiesPanda

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I was mowing a section of our new property for the first time and smelled something really familiar and aromatic. I stopped and looked around and found these clusters of green onions everywhere in the area, growing in little clumps. I broke off a piece and chewed on it and its spicier than a store green onion, but oniony nonetheless. Below are pictures of the top, a root, and the clumps as they are. I'm in SE Wisconsin (Zone 4a) and unsure if these are wild or cultivated and what type they might be. I was hoping someone here could help! I also found strawberries growing in this area, which I'm excited about. This plot is on a steepish hill, and once I cut back all the dead matter it became apparent it has been terraced and once had a food garden.

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Lastly, I also have a bunch of dead plant matter from last year I'm clearing out and found these on 2-4' stalks (below). I thought they were seed pods. I cut one open and they are solid inside- kind of whiteish, very hard, I had to use my clipper to cut them.


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Pulsegleaner

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Those "pods" are goldenrod galls. And insect (a wasp if I recall) laid an egg in the goldenrod stem and it swelled up as a result. the egg hatched the larva ate the tissue and (if these are spent ones) then pupated became an adult and chewed it's way out (if they did there will be a round hole on the side of the gall about the size of a pencil lead. if it isn't there the larva is still in there)

As for the onions hard to tell. My default answer in these cases is usually Crow garlic (Allium vineale). But you are in the range for Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum) as well so it could be that as well. Best to wait until it flowers. If the flowers are small and purple and make a sort of drumstick head, it's Crow Garlic*. If they are large and lavender and make a sort of firework explosion, it's Prairie Onion.) If the're yellow you have Golden Garlic (Allium moly) and someone planted it (it's a popular flower [and yes it's edible as well])

*depending on the type, you can also just get a mace head of bulbils or a combination of the two)
 

TwinCitiesPanda

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Those "pods" are goldenrod galls. And insect (a wasp if I recall) laid an egg in the goldenrod stem and it swelled up as a result. the egg hatched the larva ate the tissue and (if these are spent ones) then pupated became an adult and chewed it's way out (if they did there will be a round hole on the side of the gall about the size of a pencil lead. if it isn't there the larva is still in there)

As for the onions hard to tell. My default answer in these cases is usually Crow garlic (Allium vineale). But you are in the range for Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum) as well so it could be that as well. Best to wait until it flowers. If the flowers are small and purple and make a sort of drumstick head, it's Crow Garlic*. If they are large and lavender and make a sort of firework explosion, it's Prairie Onion.) If the're yellow you have Golden Garlic (Allium moly) and someone planted it (it's a popular flower [and yes it's edible as well])

*depending on the type, you can also just get a mace head of bulbils or a combination of the two)
Thank you for the great information! I knew someone on here would know. You’re a bunch of geniuses.
 

Zeedman

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The onions would not be A. moly, which I grow. Those leaves are wide & flat, and the flower stalks are seldom over 12" tall.

The large stems radiating outward from the onion clusters suggest walking onions - especially if there is evidence of a previous garden. Walking onions were apparently popular at one time in Wisconsin, I inherited some when I bought my first home. The long stems of walking onions are topped with clusters of bulbils (small bulbs) instead of flowers. When those tall stems fall over, the bulbils grow where they fall - hence the term "walking onions". I grow several of those now (there are quite a few heirlooms) and the stem can be up to 2' long; so they can spread rapidly. The pattern of clusters in the third photo suggests clumps of walking onions. As @Pulsegleaner stated, we won't know for sure until the flower stalk emerges.
 
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TwinCitiesPanda

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The onions would not be A. moly, which I grow. Those leaves are wide & flat, and the flower stalks are seldom over 12" tall.

The large stems radiating outward from the onion clusters suggest walking onions - especially if there is evidence of a previous garden. Walking onions were apparently popular at one time in Wisconsin, I inherited some when I bought my first home. The long stems of walking onions are topped with clusters of bulbils (small bulbs) instead of flowers. When those tall stems fall over, the bulbils grow where they fall - hence the term "walking onions". I grow several of those now (there are quite a few heirlooms) and the stem can be up to 2' long; so they can spread rapidly. The pattern of clusters in the third photo suggests clumps of walking onions. As @Pulsegleaner stated, we won't know for sure until the flower stalk emerges.
Thank you. Looking them up I was able to rule out A. moly, those leave do look more like tulip leaves, flat and wide. I did dig around the tops of the old stalks to check for bulbils in the area and didn't find any. I was excited/annoyed to find these today, as yesterday I purchased walking onions that will arrive for fall planting. Of course.
 

flowerbug

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and then for fun you can also have decorative alliums around. :) but so far i don't think those large clumps are those.

i do like leaving some onions here or there for their flowers alone.
 

Ridgerunner

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Please come back with a photo when they bloom.

My first thought was some type of garlic. How tall does it grow? The domestic garlic I'm familiar with gets maybe 8" high and forms a mound. It doesn't spread like that. I ate the flowers (scapes), interesting flavor raw. I don't know what variety it was, I got the start from seeds, probably from a local nursery. There are a lot of different varieties and types of domestic garlics. I just did a google search and was surprised at the types.

Dad grew a walking onion, it formed bulbs on top instead of seeds. Growing up I thought that's what all onions did. Those probably got a couple of feet high and made pretty big sweet onions. At a certain part of my childhood our supper practically every night was a bowl of pinto beans (bought those), corn bread (ground our own corn), milk from our milk cow, and a piece of those raw sweet onions. I still think of that as a good supper but my wife can't see it.

That could be wild garlic. Wild garlic stems are round and hollow, wild onions are flat and not hollow. I have to look that up every time. Wild garlic is edible but can be pretty strong. Don't know how well you'd like it. Our milk cow would occasionally eat some wild onion or wild garlic, you could definitely taste that in the milk.
 

TwinCitiesPanda

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Please come back with a photo when they bloom.

My first thought was some type of garlic. How tall does it grow? The domestic garlic I'm familiar with gets maybe 8" high and forms a mound. It doesn't spread like that. I ate the flowers (scapes), interesting flavor raw. I don't know what variety it was, I got the start from seeds, probably from a local nursery. There are a lot of different varieties and types of domestic garlics. I just did a google search and was surprised at the types.

Dad grew a walking onion, it formed bulbs on top instead of seeds. Growing up I thought that's what all onions did. Those probably got a couple of feet high and made pretty big sweet onions. At a certain part of my childhood our supper practically every night was a bowl of pinto beans (bought those), corn bread (ground our own corn), milk from our milk cow, and a piece of those raw sweet onions. I still think of that as a good supper but my wife can't see it.

That could be wild garlic. Wild garlic stems are round and hollow, wild onions are flat and not hollow. I have to look that up every time. Wild garlic is edible but can be pretty strong. Don't know how well you'd like it. Our milk cow would occasionally eat some wild onion or wild garlic, you could definitely taste that in the milk.
Might be garlic then. It was spicy but delicious. Hollow leaves.
 

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