meadow garlic

(Allium canadense var. canadense)

Conservation Status
meadow garlic
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Meadow garlic is an erect, perennial, forb rising from 1 to 4, sometimes more, clustered bulbs.

The bulbs are ½ to 1 tall, to ¾ wide, and oval or egg-shaped. They are encased in a dense network of brown, crisscrossed fibers. They have no bulbels. They gradually taper to the stem. They have a strong onion odor.

A single flowering stem (scape), 8 to 24 tall, with 3 to 6 leaves, is produced..

The leaves are basally sheathing, attached only in the lower quarter or third of the stem—they do not ascend the stem. They are grass-like and flat, 6 to 16 long and less than ¼ wide. The leaves remain green after the flowers are fully formed.

The inflorescence is a single umbrella-like cluster at the top of the scape. The cluster is shaped like half of a sphere. It has 0 to 60 flowers. There are usually 3, sometimes 4, large bracts (spathe) at the base of the cluster.

The flowers are ½ wide and bell-shaped. They are composed of 6 white or pink tepals (3 petals and 3 sepals that are similar in appearance). They are on ¼ to 1 long flower stalks, the inner ones on shorter stalks, the outer ones on longer stalks, like an umbrella. Many or all of the flowers are replaced by egg-shaped, ¼ long, stalkless bulblets.

A fruit is rarely produced. The fruit is a shiny seed capsule.




8 to 24


Flower Color


White or pink


Similar Species


The bulblets in the inflorescence are enough to distinguish this plant from any other Allium species that occurs in Minnesota.

Field garlic (Allium vineale), an introduced species, also has bulblets in the inflorescence. However the leaves are round and ascend the stem. It does not occur in Minnesota.

Nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum var. cernuum) blooms much later, July to September. The scape nods near the top. There are no bulblets in the inflorescence. The flowers are ¼ wide.

Prairie onion (Allium stellatum) blooms much later, July to September. The scape nods near the top when the flowers are in bud but becomes erect by the time the flowers are fully open. There are no bulblets in the inflorescence. The flowers are star-shaped.

Textile onion (Allium textile) is a shorter plant, reacing only 4 to 12 at maturity. It has only 1 or 2 basal leaves. The leaves are half-round, more or less straight, and solid, with a wide, rounded channel running the length of the blade. The tepals are white, only rarely pink, and have distinct red or reddish-brown midribs.


Dry, moderate moisture, or wet. Prairies, open woods. Full sun.




May to June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  


Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis, onions, and allies)  
  Subfamily Allioideae  
  Tribe Allieae  


Allium (onions)  
  Subgenus Amerallium  
  Section Amerallium  



Allium acetabulum

Allium canadense var. ovoideum

Allium canadense var. robustum

Allium continuum

Allium mutabile


Common Names


Canada garlic

Canadian meadow garlic

meadow garlic

wild garlic












Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A small bulb formed at the base of a mature bulb.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.



One or two large bracts that subtend, hood, or sometimes envelope a flower or flower cluster, as with a Jack-in-the-pulpit.



Refers to both the petals and the sepals of a flower when they are similar in appearance and difficult to tell apart. Tepals are common in lilies and tulips.



A flat-topped or convex umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers or buds arising from more or less a single point.

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    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  
    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  


    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  
    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  


    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  


    meadow garlic   meadow garlic  



  Allium canadense
Zi W
  Allium canadense  
  Allium canadense WILD ONION
Frank Mayfield
  Allium canadense WILD ONION  

early growth through blooming stage of Allium canadense WILD ONION




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Other Videos
  EatTheWeeds: Episode 140: Wild Onions/Wild Garlic

Published on May 16, 2013

In this video about Wild Onions also called Wild Garlic. The entire plant's edible from the bulbs underground to bulbets on top.




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