Tears of the Virgin (Allium triquetrum)

Scientific name for a perennial bulbous plant of the amaryllidaceae family. This rarely aquatic plant and commonly known by the name of virgin’s tears or wild garlic, is characterized by its floriferous and triangular stem between 10-45 cm in height.

It has numerous roots and three sharp edges that are also accompanied by a strong and peculiar smell of garlic, which is why it is also called garlic. With white petals, medium wide veins and green in color, this species belongs to the liliopida class and the lilidae subclass, and is made up of more than a thousand species of bulbous plants, mostly from the Northern Hemisphere.


They are native to the Western Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, Madeira, Northwest Africa and have been naturalized by European countries.

They also come from Australia, North America, New Zealand, southern Great Britain and Argentina, in the latter they grow wild and  bloom from mid-winter to early spring, showing small white, straight, bell-shaped and hanging flowers.


Its generic name is Allium and it was already known to the Greeks and Romans, although its real origin is Celtic and its meaning is «to burn», referring to the strong and peculiar acrid smell that it gives off. From the systematic point of view it belongs to the eukaryotic domain, that is, they are cells with a high degree of organization.

More important than we imagine, this delicate-looking aromatic plant is also edible.

Long, ribbon-like leaves grow from its elongated, whitish bulbs and its pretty flowers, which appear in early spring in groups of three or more (sloping umbel-like inflorescence) and are dome-shaped. Its natural habitat is the forests, grasslands and the humid and shady lands of the Mediterranean near the streams.

The bulbs are usually planted in the fall at a depth calculated to be twice their size and very close to each other; it is also customary to grow them in planters and pots.

The tears of the virgin grow very well in shady or semi-shady places, they have a cool climate and resist temperatures as low as -12 °.

Allium triquetrum culture

They thrive in soils with relative humidity and good drainage and whose acidic, neutral or alkaline PH is ideal. Fertilizers are not required for this type of plant and they resist short periods of drought without problems, what they do not tolerate is waterlogging.

In addition to being cultivated, the Allium triquetrum plant itself uses anthophiles and insects to pollinate its white flowers.

The fruit of this plant is a capsule approximately 6 mm long and whose content is black seeds, both the bulb and the leaves being edible; the dried fruit is used in crafts.

If you choose to have this bulbous perennial plant in the gardens, it is advisable to keep it under control because it expands and becomes invasive by forming dense colonies, and by multiplying with the small bulbs that in turn originate from the mother bulb..

Various antibacterial properties are  attributed to this unique plant, it is also used in cases of regulating arterial hypertension, since wild garlic, as it is also known, eliminates toxins from our body.

This variety also called pyramidal garlic is considered very resistant to pests and diseases.

The bulbs of Allium triquetrum are used in cooking recipes just as we do with the commercial garlic that we know and use for our daily use. By chopping them very finely and mixing them with butter, you get a garlic butter very similar to the original, thus preparing the garlic bread.

They are a good substitute for garlic as such and it is also often mixed with ginger and as a dressing for any dish, especially those prepared based on mushrooms and mushrooms.

In the ornamental area they are also used to cover slopes, alpine gardens, shady rockery or undergrowth, since they usually form large massifs.

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