Nothoscordum bivalve

Overall Plant in Bloom
Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: false garlic 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Southern North America, South America
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 1.25 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.75 feet
Bloom Time: March to May
Bloom Description: White with yellow tinged bases
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Best grown in evenly moist to dry, sandy to rocky, well-draining soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of dry soils and occasional drought. Plants will spread easily from seed. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Nothoscordum bivalve, commonly called false garlic or crow poison, is a bulbous, herbaceous perennial native to the southeastern and south-central United States. Its range also extends south into South America. This plant can be found growing in open woods, savannas, glades, barrens, and prairies. Mature clumps can reach up to 16" tall and spread to fill an 8" area. The top growth emerges from round bulbs that can reach around 0.5" in diameter. Each bulb will produce 1-4, narrow, linear leaves reaching up to 12" long and a solitary flowering scape. The scapes can reach up to 16" tall are topped with an umbel of 4-8 small, upward-facing flowers in spring. The 0.5" wide flowers are made up of six white tepals with yellow tinged bases. The flowers are an important early pollen and nectar source for bees, butterflies and other insect pollinators. A second bloom may occur in the fall.

The genus name Nothoscordum comes from the Greek nothos, meaning "illegitimate" and skordo meaning "garlic", in reference to the superficial resemblance of members of this genus to those of the genus Allium which includes garlic and onions.

The specific epithet bivalve means "having two valves", and refers to the two, persistent bracts which surround the flowers before they bloom.

The common name false garlic refers to the superficial resemblance of this plant to some members of the genus Allium which includes garlic and onions. However, it lacks the distinguishing smell associated with Allium species. The origins of the common name crow poison are not known, and the exact toxicity of this plant is also not well understood.


No major pest or disease problems of note.


Allow to naturalize in lawns, prairie plantings, rock gardens, and other open areas.