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Allium acuminatum (Tapertip onion)
Smith, R.W.

Allium acuminatum

Allium acuminatum Hook.

Tapertip Onion

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Allium acuminatum var. cuspidatum

USDA Symbol: ALAC4

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

An umbel of pink or deep pink flowers grows at the top of a leafless stalk. Plant has a strong onion odor.

One of the most common of the many western Wild Onions, all of which have edible bulbs, though some are extremely potent or unpalatable. In the early days of the West, Indians saved at least one exploration party from scurvy by alerting the ill explorers to the curative properties of Wild Onion.


From the Image Gallery

21 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower stalk up to about 14 inches tall.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Seeds black.

Bloom Information

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


USA: AZ , CA , CO , ID , MT , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: BC
Native Distribution: British Columbia to central California and southern Arizona; east to southern Wyoming and western Colorado.
Native Habitat: Open, often rocky slopes, among brush and pines.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Sandy loam


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.)
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. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Fragrant Foliage: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 902 - Ex situ plant conservation : supporting species survival in the wild (2004) Guerrant, E. O.; K. Havens; M. Maunder

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Allium acuminatum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Allium acuminatum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Allium acuminatum


Record Modified: 2023-04-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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