Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Allium victorialis

A query has been received concerning the folklore of Allium victorialis, alpine leek, native to mountainous parts of Europe and the Caucasus, and the Himalayas.  The epithet victorialis is said to to refer to the former use of the plant to protect Bohemian miners from evil spirits. Any information would be gratefully received; please send it to

Response:  Many thanks for Michel Chauvet for the following:

In German the plant is called Allermannsharnisch (everybody’s armour), Siegwurz (victory root = victorialis), Bergknoblauch …  In Hans Schöf’s Zauberkräuter (1986) it is said ‘the bulb was worn as an amulet by soldiers in order to protect them from wounds.  This is a typical case of magic following the theory [doctrine] of signatures: the bulb has a reticulate cover like an armour.’

The epithet victorialis must originate from German Siegwurz in the Middle Ages.

Updated 18 January 2020.

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