Plant of the Week: Twisted-leaf garlic

Twisted-leaf garlic, Allium obliquum, is an edible in the garlic family.

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.


The Plant of the Week is another Allium, like the Sicilian honey garlic we previously featured.

Allium is a genus of flowering plants commonly referred to as the onion genus. This group includes many common edibles that you might recognize, such as garlic, leeks, onions, chives, shallots, and ramps. All of these plants feature high concentrations of sulfur compounds which give them their distinctive taste, smell, and occasionally tear-inducing qualities. In this same genus are a number of ornamentals known for their architectural build and large spherical compound flower heads.

Twisted-leaf garlic, Allium obliquum, is one of the distinctive alliums you’ll find currently blooming at the High Line. This beautiful and delicate plant is a close relative of garlic — get close enough to get a whiff of its unmistakable scent. At the top of its slender curved stalk, you’ll find a small head of green flower buds which eventually open to reveal bright stamen.

Twisted-leaf garlic is native to eastern Asia where it has been historically cultivated as an edible. Although it has an aroma and flavor similar to the garlic we’re familiar with, twisted-leaf garlic has a bulb that only measures about ¾ of an inch in diameter, making it less than ideal for cultivation for food.

Between West 17th and West 21st Streets

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