Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for False Garlic - Nothoscordum bivalve   (L.) Britton
Members of Alliaceae:
Members of Nothoscordum with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Alliaceae
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Author(L.) Britton
DistributionPresent over most of the Coastal Plain and across much of the eastern and southern Piedmont. Sparsely found in the northern and western Piedmont, just one county (Jackson) known from the Mountains, and absent from the Sandhills proper.

This is a Southern species ranging north to southern VA, IL, and southeastern NE, and south to central FL and AZ.
AbundanceFairly common (at least locally) over most of the Coastal Plain and the southern Piedmont. Rare in the northern and western Piedmont, and essentially absent in the Mountains, though there are many records from nearby eastern TN. It is absent from the Sandhills proper. Its numbers increase the farther south in the state you go, and thus it can be common in the southeasternmost counties. The NatureServe's Global Rank of only G4 is puzzling, as it has a very large range; this website recommends G5.
HabitatThis species grows primarily in mesic floodplain forests of brownwater rivers. Many records come from sunny to partly sunny, "grassy" places and it is often seen on roadsides or weedy fields, but more natural habitats include margins of granitic flatrocks, glades, open woods, and barrens.
PhenologyBlooms mostly from mid-March to mid-May, but there is a late flowering period in fall (September into October). It fruits a month or two after flowering.
IdentificationThis is often considered as an "onion", but unlike Allium species it does not have an odor of onions. It is a quite small monocot wildflower, with a few linear grass-like leaves only several inches long, and a flowering stalk usually just 6-8 inches tall. At the tip of the stalk is a small and open umbel of only 6-12 flowers, normally only a few in bloom at a time. The flowers, thankfully, are large for the small size of the plant; the 6 tepals are white to creamy/pale yellow, and the spread flower is close to 1 inch across. Though it is a small species in stature, its relatively large flowers and its habit of often growing in sizable colonies along roadsides makes them readily visible while you drive along a highway. In reality there is no other species quite like it, as it is NC's only member of the genus.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species was formerly included within the genus Allium, as Allium bivalve (as in RAB 1968). Most references have long ago moved it over to Nothoscordum bivalve.

Other Common Name(s)Grace Garlic, Crow-poison (a name used for Stenanthium densum)
State RankS4
Global RankG4 [G5]
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieFayetteville, floodplain terrace by Cape Fear River, April 2015. CumberlandPhoto_natural
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