This one is for all those expert foragers out there. My back yard is now starting to sprout grass after a rainy March, and since we haven't mowed yet I noticed a corner of the yard is dominated by these tufts of longer, heartier looking grass which smell very onion-y. By comparison the rest of the grass is ~3" high while these tufts are up to a foot high when I stretch them out (see below pic for reference). The onion grass tufts are also a little bit more blue-grey and sturdy (= round, not a blade like standard grass) than the surrounding grass.
When I pick these out of the ground the onion smell is much stronger at the tips, where the roots are white and purplish. For climate/region reference I live in the mid-Atlantic/eastern seaboard, and it's been mostly 40s/50s weather-wise with a few warmer days here and there in the past few weeks.
I'm no botanist (in fact I've been known to kill house plants), but if I had come across these as a gatherer, judging by their savory aroma, I might have found them a nice addition to something brewing over a fire. Are these onions? Could they possibly be edible? As a matter of waiving liability I'll go ahead and say that I'm not relying on PaleoHackers' opinions as my sole decision making point on whether to try these; however if the general consensus points to these being edible, I would continue with research on my own to determine whether I'd ultimately try them.
I dug around some more today and look at what I found! It would appear to be a bona fide spring onion. Other clumps I dug up had baby bulbs that I can only assume will continue to grow. Fabulous! Now I've dug up and saved some clusters in planters before the lawn mower gets to them. ;-p
Thanks to all for the encouragement and opinions!
This is a curry I made with that when I lived in Sweden (ignore the tofu, I was having some vegetarians over for dinner) It was decent and tasted a bit like chives. As the spring wore on they became tough and gross and I stopped harvesting them.
They sound and look like wild onions, or perhaps chives. It'll be easier to tell once they put on some kind of bloom, if you let them grow all year. In the meantime, I'd happily use them like green onions (scallions), as long as the lawn hasn't been treated with anything nasty.
I used to eat those in the playground as a kid (my parents would have been horrified, since I'm sure there were all kinds of pesticides on them), and I've made it to age 30!
you might get some use out of these...
Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies has a pretty good identification section.
I also have The Backyard Medicine Chest: An Herbal Primer
I do not have, but am very tempted to get URBAN FORAGING - Finding and eating wild plants in the city.
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