This native of central Asia is nothing more than a large onion. It is grown as an ornamental in early summer gardens. What appears to be a large globe flower at the end of a tall stalk is really up to fifty small star shaped flowers. It grows from a fall planted perennial bulb, and reproduces by developing ‘daughter’ bulbs which can be separated and replanted to increase the number of plants in the garden.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Alliums are used to reduce blood pressure, and blood fat, and is anti atherosclerosis due to the action of the saponins present. The bulb is the part used medicinally and it carries an onion scent when bruises, damaged, or aging.
The bulb can also be eaten; it is an onion, with a mild onion flavor. The flowers are used as a garnish in salads.
In European folklore there are magical properties attributed to the Allium. It was used for good luck and as a protection against demons. In the Victorian Language of Flowers Alliums mean unity, humility, and patience.