Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Allium canadense

Meadow garlic, Wild garlic, Wild onion

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Allium canadense (Meadow garlic)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Meadow garlic or wild garlic’s sparse cluster of grass-like leaves and its 8-12 in. flowering stalk grow from a bulb. From between narrow, grass-like leaves, which originate near its base, rises a stem topped by a dome-like cluster of star-shaped, pink or whitish flowers; plant has strong, onion-like odor.

This native perennial has a brown, fibrous skin on an edible bulb that tastes like onion.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: 8-12 inches tall.
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul


USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , IA , KS , KY , LA , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , MT , NE , NH , NJ , NY , NC , ND , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to SD, s. to n. FL & TX
Native Habitat: Open woods; prairies

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moderately rich, neutral soils.
Conditions Comments: Some Allium species can become weedy in warmer climates. Tolerates all conditions well; very hearty plant. Make sure soil is well-drained, plants will rot in standing water. Generally free of pests and disease, although some people have had problems with slugs.


Use Wildlife: Bulbs and leaves are eaten by wild turkeys.
Use Food: There are many bulb forming plants that resemble wild onions, some are toxic. Only harvest plants with the distinct odor of onions. The chopped green leaves can be used like chives and the bulbs are cooked as any other onions.
Use Medicinal: Crushed bulbs applied to insect stings. Bulbs eaten raw for scurvy. Tea of bulbs to control coughs and vomiting. Infusion of bulb used as eyewash and ear and for ear infections. Bruised onion to treat stings of bees and wasps.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Nectar Source: yes
Deer Resistant: High

Last Update: 2015-02-17