The Q&A Archives: Can You Describe The Fragrance Of Society Garlic For Me?

Question: I am interested in planting Society Garlic How does it smell? Could it be construed as Dog feces Odor?

Answer: Tulbaghia Violacea is the Society Garlic. Despite its name and distinctive garlicky smell, society garlic is not really garlic at all. Although like garlic it is a member of the lily (Alliaceae) family it is not an allium and is actually more closely related to the narcissus flower.

Society garlic reputedly got its name from a belief that it could be eaten without producing the unfortunate side-effect of garlic bad breath. As such it was a form of garlic that was acceptable in "polite society". However many modern nutritionists advise against eating society garlic as it can cause stomach problems. Our advice: play safe and don't eat it.

Society garlic does however make a good ornamental plant. The leaves are long, thin and evergreen and it has attractive purple flowers. Perhaps most importantly, it gives off a gorgeous garlicky aroma. (I've never heard it referred to as a dog feces odor - but to each his own!)

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