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Article: Onion Power

Onion Power

This week’s flower will be much easier to remember when you think of Shrek (year 2001 movie). Yes, the big green ogre that lived in a fairy-tale land filled with wise-cracking cynics, kind-hearted but clumsy clowns or bimbo fairy tale characters.


In the 1st Shrek movie, particularly, there was a hilarious scene where Shrek & Donkey were on their way to retrieve Princess Fiona from her castle imprisonment. Their script was as below:

Shrek: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.

Donkey: Example?

Shrek: Example... uh... ogres are... like onions!

[holds up an onion, which Donkey sniffs]

Donkey: They stink?

Shrek: Yes... No!

Donkey: Oh, they make you cry?

Shrek: No!

Donkey: Oh, you leave 'em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs...

Shrek: [peels an onion] NO! Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers... You get it? We both have layers.

While Shrek was referring to everyone having hidden characteristics that defined the real unique individual we are inside, let’s reveal the real identity of Allium. Allium is related to Onion, in fact. The common name for Allium is called...yeah, you guessed it...onion. Ornamental Onion, to be exact. ;)

Just like Shrek and Donkey have many layers of characteristics to them, Allium/Onion Flower at first hearing is unappealing. It doesn’t help that our minds will automatically remember our own unpleasant experiences with onions – the stinging tears onions made you cry as you kept mincing away that wretched vegetable, or the funnier time you tried wearing swimming goggles to reduce the teary effect that onions emit. That is what most of us are familiar with about onions.

But what if I tell you that Onion flowers are flamboyantly beautiful? Especially the popular Purple species? ‘Peel away the layers’ & you’ll find a unique beauty you thought you’ll never see in something considered ugly. Here's how the onion flowers really look like:


 Yes, it sounds bizarre but onions can flower. And some species can grow really tall as much as 150cm! Despite the onion bulbs’ infamous pungent odor, the flowers don't smell so strongly like garlic or onion to our regular human noses. But to the deer and rats/rodents, their noses are much more sensitive. They don't like these flowers and would keep away instead. Here are other facts about the Onion flower you probably didn’t know:

  1. The onion genus Allium comprises monocotyledonous flowering plants such as the onion, garlic, chives, scallion, shallot, and the leek as well as hundreds of wild species.
  2. Some sources may refer to Greek αλεω (meaning: to avoid) by reason of the smell of garlic.
  3. Alliumspecies are cultivated in temperate climates of the northern hemisphere, except for a few species growing in Chile (such as  juncifolium), Brazil (A. sellovianum), and tropical Africa (A. spathaceum).
  4. WARNING: Dogsand cats are very susceptible to poisoning after the consumption of certain Allium species. So make sure your pets are kept well away from these flowers.
  5. Because they are easy to grow, these flowers have been decorating vases for ages around the world. When they are planted in the garden and they fade away eventually, the dried flower heads still look attractive, even in death.

There, what did I tell you about ‘layers’ and ‘beauty’? Care to give ‘ugly’ a chance to reveal her real beauty? =)


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