I chose this for the colour, to mark our first Sarko-free day for five years.  Other associations with last night’s Socialist victory come tumbling to mind too:  it’s pink, not red; it is used to spending a long time in the wilderness; and the world seems divided into those who like the scent and those who don’t.

The fact that it has a bulb means it (the plant, now) is found in rocky, bare, inhospitable places, on the hills, in the garrigue, and often on the edges of vineyards – it has the underground resources to tolerate drought and cold and heat. This website which I discovered today has a good map showing distribution in the south and west of France– well, it’s a change from the deluge of red and blue political maps today.

As for the scent and taste, I’m a fan, even if not quite in the same league as Chaiselongue.  I’ve always liked the name of the fan club: The Lovers of the Stinking Rose.  There’s more about them and a great chicken recipe here.  Culpepper says  ‘this herb is a remedy for all diseases and hurts’,  and we should be fine: we certainly eat industrial quantities.   But he adds that it will ‘send up strong fancies, and as many strange visions to the head’.  I’ll keep you posted.

I may not feature other alliums – this is the main wild one I know – so this is a good chance to talk onions.  Onion (Allium cepa) gets its English name from French oignon and that in turn from Latin unio, a common country name for the vegetable in those times, more usually used for a large pearl, because of how onions look when peeled. The ‘proper’ Latin name was caepa, preserved in the botanic name, and in the Occitan name which we often see and hear, ceba (pronounced ‘sebbo’).  So, speak proper, speak Oc!

For a bit of jazz, I’ve chosen something with a pink cover, and a current favourite.  It’s Michel Portal’s Bailador album, his most recent and I think one of his best ever. The video follows in the next post (I think that’s how wordpress operates)



May 7, 2012 · 12:43 pm

5 responses to “Allium roseum – pink wild garlic

  1. Congratulations to France and all those who dwell therein! I was so happy when I heard your news, I whooped aloud and scared my old cat off his perch. A lovely post on the stinking rose. I am one of those rare beings who can take it or leave it, no strong feelings either way. When I was in training to become a Buddhist nun (never got to the end of it, changed my mind in 2006) I learned that Vietnamese Buddhists consider garlic and onions to be aphrodisiacs, and so they are forbidden in celibate communities, where there are enough troubles without raging hormones. My opinion (which I kept to myself) was that if they really were aphrodisiacs, the world would be overrun with Mediterraneans. Sadly, that is not the case.

    • I think it may be the hot taste which has led to these associations for garlic, thinking of it as heating the blood and so on. I’m getting interested in how people have tried – and are trying – to make sense of the natural world, and I hope I can discover more about this by doing the blog.
      Yes, politics is getting interesting, and I hope raging hormones can be kept out of it! At least Hollande has promised ‘sexism-free politics’ – bonne chance, mon brave.

  2. Ceridwen

    Regarding the genus Allium, and as an extension of Kendall’s contribution. A member of my extended family has been a Hare Krishna ‘devotee’ for many years and they do not use any sort of Allium in their diet. It is on a list of banned foodstuffs which are deemed to be “in the mode of ignorance”. In fact, they use asafoetida as a substitute!
    Also, I wonder if you know that spring onions are called ‘cibies’ (pronounced with a long i) in Scotland? One of a number of linguistic connections between France and L’Ecosse.

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