- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
It was right where it belonged--by the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.
As I returned from a meeting in the building today, something green caught my eye.
A praying mantis was hanging out on the society garlic.
Was it eating any prey? No, not this time. (Funny how we're always interested in the dining habits of praying mantids and their menu acquisitions.)
Society garlic or Tulbaghia violacea, is a native of South Africa, and emits a garlicky odor. It's a drought-tolerant plant especially popular now in California. The genus name, Tulbaghia, memorializes Ryk Tulbagh, an 18th-century Dutch governor of the Cape of Good Hope. And the species name? Violacea refers to the flower color, often described as pink, pinkish-violet or violet.
However, folks who want bee friendly plants don't plant this one. They lean toward such flowers as lavender, bee balm, African blue basil, zinnia, catmint and the like.
As for the praying mantis, it seemed to like the plant outside the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences just fine.
We wonder if its breath smelled like garlic...