WILD ONION
File Size: 87 KB
 
Allium canadense  L.
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Perennial
Height: 6-36 inches
Family: Liliaceae - Lily Family
Flowering Period:   May, June
Stems: Flowering stalks erect, stout, leafless, arising from bulbs .5 to 1.25 inches thick.
Leaves: Basal, 2 or more, linear, 4 to 12 inches long, less than 1/4 inch wide, channeled.
Inflorescences: Umbels, erect, many-flowered, terminal; subtended by 3 spathe bracts, each conspicuously 3-7 nerved.
Flowers: Perianths bell-shaped, on stalks .5 to 1.5 inch long, white or pinkish; perianth segments 6, elliptic-lanceolate; tips blunt or pointed; withering away from fruits; stamens 6, barely shorter than perianth.
Fruits: Capsules, short, rounded; seeds 1-2, shiny, black.
Habitat: Prairies and roadsides, often on rocky soils.
Distribution: East 1/2 of Kansas.
Uses: Native Americans used Allium species as food, consuming the bulbs raw, fried, or cooked in soups.
Comments: Several varieties of Allium canadense occur in Kansas, in some of which the flowers are replaced by bulblets. When grazed, wild onion will give milk an onion or garlic flavor.

Wild onion inflorescence
87 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Wild onion spathe bract
86 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Wild onion
157 KB
Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Chase County, Kansas
Wild onion flowers
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Ottawa County, Kansas
Wild onion flowers and spathe bract
84 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas
Wild onion
159 KB
Ottawa County, Kansas