Tulbaghia is a genus of monocotyledonous herbaceous perennial bulbs native to Africa, belonging to the Amaryllis family.
It is one of only two known genera in the society garlic tribe within the onion subfamily.
The genus was named for Ryk Tulbagh, one-time governor of The Cape of Good Hope.
Tulbaghia violacea is a clump-forming perennial with a strong garlic smell, earning it its American common name of society garlic. The smell comes from the crushed leaves or flower stems, making it unsuitable for use as a cut flower. However, apart from the garlic smell, the plant is worth growing for its beautiful large heads of lavender blooms held on tall stems from midsummer to early autumn.
Tulbaghia “Purple Eye” is a narrow-leaved tulbaghia, bearing starry lilac flowers with a deeper purple centre. The flowers are smaller than those of Tulbaghia violacea. It’s perfect for growing in pots or at the front or a sunny, sheltered border.
Other common names
society garlic ‘Purple Eye’
Tulbaghia ‘Purple Eyes’
Tulbaghia are bulbous or rhizomatous perennials with linear, onion-scented leaves and umbels of small, star-shaped flowers with a small cup-like corona
‘Purple Eye’ is a rhizomatous perennial growing to about 40cm. It has long, narrow, grey-green foliage with an oniony smell when crushed. The flowers are tubular, with spreading petals giving a star-like effect, white or very pale purple with a mid-purple eye, and produced over a long period from early spring to early autumn.