textile onion

(Allium textile)

Conservation Status

 

No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Textile onion is an erect, perennial, forb rising from 1 to 3, sometimes more, clustered bulbs.

The bulbs are ½ to 1 tall, to ¾ wide, and egg-shaped to cone-shaped. They are encased in a brownish or grayish membranous coating. They gradually taper to the stem.

One or two basal leaves arise at the soil surface. They rise to or above the level of the stem. They are 4 to 15 long, about wide, half-round, more or less straight, and solid. There is a deep, wide, rounded channel running the length of the blade. The leaves remain green after the flowers are fully formed.

A single flowering stem (scape) rises from the base. It is 2 to 12 tall and leafless. It is curved or bent slightly toward the top, somewhat zigzagged. It becomes rigid when the plant is in fruit.

The inflorescence is a single, 1 wide, umbrella-like flowering cluster at the top of the scape. The cluster is shaped like half of a sphere. It has 15 to 30 flowers and no bulblets. There are two bracts at the base of the cluster that soon fall off.

The flowers are ¼ long and pitcher-shaped, contracted near the mouth like a pitcher or urn, or bell-shaped. They are composed of 6 tepals (3 petals and 3 sepals that are similar in appearance). The tepals are white or, rarely, pink, and have red or reddish-brown midribs. They are on ¼ to ¾ long flower stalks, the inner ones on shorter stalks, the outer ones on longer stalks, like an umbrella. There is no floral fragrance, but the bulb and foliage have an onion-like scent.

The fruit is a shiny seed capsule. The pedicels become stouter and longer, up to 2 long, with the fruit.

 
     
 

Height

 
 

4 to 12

 
     
 

Flower Color

 
 

White, rarely pink, with red or reddish-brown midribs

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Meadow garlic (Allium canadense var. canadense) is a taller plant, reaching 1 to 2 at maturity. It has 3 to 6 basally-sheathed leaves, attached only in the lower quarter or third of the stem. The leaves are flat and soft. Most or all of the flowers in the inflorescence have been replaced with bulblets. The flowers are ½ wide and bell-shaped.

Nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum var. cernuum) is a taller plant, reaching 1 to 2 at maturity. It blooms much later, July to September. It has 3 to 5 basal leaves. The leaves are flat and soft. The scape rises higher than the leaves and nods near the top. The tepals are white to pink and do not have differently-colored midribs.

Prairie onion (Allium stellatum) is a taller plant, reaching 1 to 2 at maturity. It blooms much later, July to September. It has 3 to 5 basal leaves. The leaves are flat and soft. The scape rises higher than the leaves and nods near the top when the flowers are in bud but becomes erect by the time the flowers are fully open. The tepals are white to pink and do not have differently-colored midribs.

 
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Dry. Prairies. Full sun.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Flowering

 
 

May to June

 
     
 
Use
 
 

 

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

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

 
  1/9/2014      
         
 

Nativity

 
 

Native

 
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

 

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  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)  
 

Order

Asparagales (agaves, orchids, irises, and allies)  
 

Family

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

Genus

Allium (onion)  
  Subgenus Amerallium  
  Section Amerallium  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Allium aridum

Allium geyeri var. textile

Allium reticulatum

Allium reticulatum var. playanum

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

prairie onion

textile onion

white wild onion

wild onion

wild onions

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Bract

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

 

Elongate

Drawn out, lengthened.

 

Linear

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

 

Pedicel

On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen.

 

Scape

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

 

Sepal

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

 

Tepal

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.

 

Umbel

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

       
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