textile onion

(Allium textile)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

 

No image available

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Dry. Prairies. Full sun.

Flowering

May to June

     
Flower Color

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

     
Height

4 to 12

     

Identification

This 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.

 
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.


Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28.

Comments

 


Taxonomy

Family:

Amaryllidaceae (amaryllis)

 

Subfamily:

Allioideae

 

Tribe:

Allieae

 
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 or flower cluster.

 

Elongate

Drawn out, lengthened.

 

Linear

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

 

Pedicel

In plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. In 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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