Scapes are long, leafless flowering stems that grow out of a bulb or other underground structure.
Scape or stem?
Many people generalize that a scape is a flower stem, but it is not that simple. Botanically, a scape is a single internode, without leaves or branches, that either provides the base for, or becomes, the flower stem, or peduncle, and that it arises directly from an underground structure, such as a bulb, corm, or root. Most flower stems tend to emerge from twigs or spurs, instead.
Which plants have scapes?
In the world of edible gardening and foodscaping, scapes are the flowering stems of chives, garlic, onions, leeks, and scallions. The scapes of these edible plants can be eaten. The flavor becomes stronger and the scape becomes tougher as it matures, so scapes are normally harvested while still young and tender. Cyclamen, tulips, amaryllis, day lilies, and many succulents also feature a scape.
Edible garlic scapes
While garlic plants do not produce flowers, they do grow flower stalks, or scapes. Garlic scapes are normally removed by gardeners because the scapes use nutrients that could be going to the underground bulb. This is true of hardneck garlic, in particular. As an added bonus, these garlic scapes are delicious! If left on the plant, these scapes will result in the development of tiny bulbs, called bulbils. These bulbils can be planted to create the next generation of garlic.
Have you harvested garlic scapes before? Tell us about it in the comments!
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