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Allium canadense L.
Meadow Garlic, Wild Garlic, Wild Onion
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
USDA Symbol: alca3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower stalk up to about 12 inches tall.
Fruit: Seeds black.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to SD, s. to n. FL & TX
Native Habitat: Open woods; prairies
Growing ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse 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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSupports Conservation Biological Control
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationPropagation Material: Seeds
Description: Best would be to salvage, or seed out in nursery bed and divide small bulbs several years later.
Seed Collection: Blooming in early spring, seeds ready to harvest soon after.
Seed Treatment: Easily propagated by untreated seed sown in warm location in late winter.
Commercially Avail: yes
Mr. Smarty Plants says
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National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording 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
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
BibliographyBibref 610 - Edible wild plants of the prairie : an ethnobotanical guide (1987) Kindscher, K.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 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
Research LiteratureReslit 2719 - Allium canadense and its allies in North America (1946) M. Ownbey, H. C. Aase
Reslit 2720 - A weed control study on highway shoulders (1968) H. A. Nation
Reslit 2721 - Germination studies of aerial bulblets of Allium vineale L. and A. canadense L. (1960) A. Krochmal
Reslit 2722 - Chemical control of wild Allium species (1976) W. S. Hardcastle
Reslit 2723 - Vegetation structure of field margins and adjacent forests in agricultural landscapes of the North Carolina Piedmont (2011) J. D. Fridley, A. R. Senft, R. K. Peet
Reslit 2724 - Resistance to Penicillium allii in accessions from a National Plant Germplasm System Allium collection (2011) F. M. Dugan, B. C. Hellier, S. L. Lupien
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Allium canadense in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Allium canadense in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Allium canadense
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-04-10
Research By: NPC, MWJ