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Allium stellatum Fraser ex Ker Gawl.

Prairie onion

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderAsparagalesA diverse group that includes asparagus
FamilyAmaryllidaceaeAmaryllis family—plants that grow from bulbs. Includes onions and many others
GenusAlliumOnions, leeks, shallots, garlic, scallions, etc.

About plant names...

Prairie onion is native to North American prairies.

Identification: Plants are 12-18" (30-45 cm) high, growing in sandy soil. Like all members of this genus, plants have a distinct onion/garlic odor. Leaves are few, grasslike, near the base. They die back when the flower stalks grow. Flowers are rose-pink to lavender, in umbels that are ball-shaped, 2-3" (5-7.6 cm) around. Each individual flower is about ¼" (6.3 mm) in size. Sometimes the flowerhead is tipped over—”nodding”—making these plants resemble nodding onion (Allium cernuum). Bulbs are oval or cone-shaped, 1½" (4 cm) × ½" (1.5 cm) in size.

Edibility: Bulbs are edible, but very strong in flavor, and can be eaten when boiled. The leaves are edible, either raw or cooked, and the flowers made a good garnish on salads.

Online References:

Allium stellatum at Illinois Wildflowers

Allium stellatum on Missouriplants.com

Allium stellatum on

Allium stellatum at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Allium stellatum on the USDA Plants Database

Allium stellatum on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants


Allium stellatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Allium stellatum (prairie onion)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 24 × 16" (62 × 41 cm)


About this map...