IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

Comprehensive Description

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This native perennial plant consists of a vase-like rosette of basal leaves. The leaves are about 12" long and up to ¼" across. They are linear in shape, with smooth margins and parallel venation. Unlike many onions from the Old World, the leaves are solid and flat, and there is a small ridge running along their length. They are rather soft and tend to bend outward or downward. From the center of the rosette, a single flowering scape may appear that is about 1½' tall. This scape terminates in an umbel of flowers. This umbel faces toward the ground because the scape bends downward at its apex. The flowers are individually about ¼" long, and may be white, light lavender, or pink. A flower consists of 3 petals and 3 sepals (i.e., tepals) with a similar appearance, and has 6 white stamens with yellow anthers. The pedicels are about ¾" long. At the base of the umbel are two membraneous bracts that soon fall off. The blooming season is usually mid-summer and lasts about a month. There is no floral scent. The flowers are replaced by seed capsules containing small black seeds that are light in weight and rather flat. They are distributed to a limited extent by the wind. The root system consists of a bulb that is longer than it is wide. Both the bulb and foliage have a typical onion-like scent. Offsets frequently form, creating small clumps of plants.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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