Genus of the Week
Week of Apr. 20-26
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Family: Liliaceae: The Lily Family
(Some classifications place Allium in either the Alliaceae or Amaryllidaceae family.)
Number of Species: At least 700
The genus Allium has many important economic uses. Plants of this genus are known
under the common names of Onion, Garlic, Leek, Chive, etc. They are often easily recognized
by their bulbs, which are actually fleshy leaves (used for food storage) growing underground
and surrounding the stem. They can also be recognized by the their strong onion-like odor.
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Allium species:
- If you only check out one link on this list, it should be
The Bulb Guide, from bulb.com. At this site you will find information about the genus' history,
growing tips, and some nice photos.
- Visit the Medicinal Herb Garden at the University of Washington to see
- Herbalists should stop by the Ethnobot Database to look at the
long list of Allium
species for which there are medicinal uses.
- The Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development has a web site
devoted to the Identification of and Information About Global Crop Pests. Check out the
for Allium species.
- Cornell also has several nice images of typical Allium species on the
Poisonous Plants Web Page. From
there you can get to valuable information from the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System.
- Go to the NewCrops web site (Maintained by the Indiana Center for New Crops and Plant
Products at Purdue University) for
agricultural information about various Allium species.
- Molecular biologists will definitely want to check out this Japanese site featuring confocal laser scanning micrographs. It not only features
the chromosomes of A. fistulosum in various stages of mitosis, it also includes a 3-D
- Raven, Peter H. et al. Biology of Plants. New York, Worth Publishers: 1992.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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