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Allium canadense (Meadow garlic)
Smith, R.W.

Allium canadense

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

10 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Grass/Grass-like
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Flower stalk up to about 12 inches tall.
Fruit: Seeds black.

Bloom Information

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


USA: 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 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

Value to Beneficial Insects

Supports Conservation Biological Control

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation 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

Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
March 15, 2010
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
view the full question and answer

Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
view the full question and answer

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
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-10
Research By: NPC, MWJ

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