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Nothoscordum bivalve (Crow poison)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Nothoscordum bivalve

Nothoscordum bivalve (L.) Britton

Crow Poison, Crowpoison, False Garlic

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Allium bivalve, Ornithogalum bivalve

USDA Symbol: NOBI2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This early spring flower is one of the first to appear on lawns, meadows, or roadsides throughout the state. Often it blooms again in the fall. It grows from a bulb and looks much like the wild onion, but has fewer and larger flowers on long stems and lacks the onion odor. The leaves are all at the base of the plant, about 1/8 inch wide, but often quite long, 4-15 inches. The white flowers have 6 tepals with a green to brown stripe, and 6 stamens. Individual flowers are 1/2 inch across and grow in loose clusters on stalks 8-16 inches tall.


From the Image Gallery

34 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MO , MS , NC , NE , OH , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA
Native Habitat: In lawns, disturbed areas, open slopes, roadsides, prairies, and open woodlands throughout Texas. Found in various soils from sand to clay.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Conditions Comments: Flowers are white with yellow-orange anthers. The plant has the appearance of a wild onion (Allium drummondi), but lacks the onion/garlic smell. It forms large colonies of plants that bloom in early spring. Caution: It is uncertain as to whether or not this plant is toxic. Because of this uncertainty, it should not be eaten.


Warning: This plant should not be eaten. Some references list this species as poisonous to humans. The jury is still out about its toxicity to crows.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Seed Collection: Collect seed in May, June.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0086 Collected Mar. 28, 1991 in Bexar County by Mollie Walton
NPSOT 0749 Collected Apr 3, 1994 in Comal County by Mary Beth White
NPSOT 0781 Collected Feb 13, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-184 Collected 2007-11-04 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2007-10-20
Research By: NPC

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