Autumn onion, Prairie onion
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
A 1-2 ft., chive-like perennial
forming tufts of slender, solid leaves and stems. The green leaves appear in spring and die back as the flowering stalks appear. Umbels of rose-pink to lavender flowers form erect, 3-4 in. wide balls.
The bulbs of wild onions have a strong flavor but can be eaten raw or parboiled. Early explorers ate them, and they were also used by settlers to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. Chives (A. schoenoprasum
) has hollow leaves and long, narrow, sharply pointed, lavender petals; it was introduced from Europe in the northeastern United States and in Canada from Alberta to Newfoundland.
Image Gallery: 7 photo(s) available
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct , Nov , Dec
, WY Canada: BC
, SK Native Distribution:
Ont. to Sask., s. to TN
& TX Native Habitat:
Rocky prairies, slopes, shores & ridges
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Mesic to dry, rocky soils.
Conditions Comments: Some Allium species can become weedy in warmer climates.
Prairie onion attracts butterflies. Use Food:
EDIBLE PARTS: Leaves, bulbs and bulblets. Field garlic (A. vineale) is too strong for most tastes. Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem
bulblets are collected during the summer. Use as domestic onions, for seasoning or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. To freeze onions or garlic, one should coarsely chop, blanch two minutes, drain, pat dry and place them into plastic bags. The bulbs can also be dried for use as seasoning. Use flower
bulbs to flavor soup or for pickling. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
of wild inions are very strong but can be eaten raw or parboiled. Early explorers ate them, and they were also used by the American settlers to treat colds, coughs, and asthma, and to repel insects. (Niering) Warning:
POISONOUS PARTS: All parts but causes only low toxicity if eaten; can be safely eaten in small amounts, large quantities not recommended. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Toxic Principle: Sulfides. (Niering) Conspicuous Flowers: