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Allium canadense is often confused with:
Allium vineale Allium vineale
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Allium Alllium
Achillea millefolium Achillea millefolium
Verbena canadensis Verbena canadensis
Allium canadense has some common insect problems:
Slugs and Snails Found on Flowers and Foliage

Allium canadense

Phonetic Spelling
AL-ee-um ka-na-DEN-see
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Allium canadense, or Wild Onion is a bulbous perennial that is native to North Carolina and much of the United States. Wild Onions have grass-like leaves from which dome-like clusters of star-shaped pink or white flowers bloom from late spring into summer. The plant prouces a strong, onion-like odor when leaves are crushed or mowed. Wild onion is weedy in disturbed areas and can be found in meadows, thickets, fields, forests, and lawns. It is considered a noxious weed in several states.

Wild Onion (sometimes also called Wild Garlic) grows about 18 inches tall and can spread quite freely when well sited. Both leaves and flowers have a delicious mild flavor while the bulb is crisp and mild with a pleasant flavor that is a leek or garlic substitute, according to taste.The root system consists of a bulb with thick fibrous roots, from which offsets may occasionally develop. This plant can also reproduce by its seeds and/or aerial bulblets.

Bulbs can be eaten and cooked like an onion and the leaves can chopped and used like chilves. Only collect plants from areas you know have not been treated with pesticides. Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem bulblets are collected during the summer. Wash leaves, bulbs and bulblets in warm water to remove dirt and debris. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. 

Diseases, Insects and Other Plant Problems:

Generally free of pests and disease, although some people have had problems with slugs.

VIDEO

Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

 

More information on Allium.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#white#poisonous#perennial#white flowers#pink flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#mass planting#summer flowers#spring interest#wildflower garden#edible#border front#native weed#perennial weed#cool season vegetable#butterfly friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#bees#hummingbirds#white#poisonous#perennial#white flowers#pink flowers#weedy#fragrant leaves#mass planting#summer flowers#spring interest#wildflower garden#edible#border front#native weed#perennial weed#cool season vegetable#butterfly friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Allium
    Species:
    canadense
    Family:
    Liliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Plant is edible. Medicinial uses include using a crushed bulb to treat insect bites and stings and using the bulb for a tea to treat cough and vomiting.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Canada, Easter and Central United States
    Distribution:
    throughout United States
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Bulbs may be eaten by wild turkey.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Food Source
    Edibility:
    Use as domestic onions, for seasoning, or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled, or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. To freeze onions or garlic, one should coarsely chop, blanch two minutes, drain, pat dry, and place them into plastic bags. The bulbs can also be dried for use as seasoning. Use flower bulbs to flavor soup or for pickling.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Bulb
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Weed
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    After the blooming period, the flowers are replaced by seed capsules; each capsule contains several small dark seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Dome
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    Tepals
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Each flowering stalk terminates in an inflorescence that has a sack-like covering that splits open and withers away to reveal an umbel of 6 to 12 small (1/2 inch), pedicellate flowers or a similar number of sessile bulblets (frequently some combination of both). The flowers are a dome-like cluster of star-shaped pink or whitish flowers on a naked flower stalk. The bulblets are about ΒΌ inch long, ovoid in shape, and light green to pinkish red. Wild Garlic is especially likely to flower or have reddish bulblets in a sunny situation.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Linear
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are long (6 to 15 inches), slender, flat or cylindrical and hollow, flattened near the base with a strong onion-like odor. When young, leaves of the plants are often confused with grass. Each leaf has a poorly defined keel along its midvein, while its margins are smooth.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    Yes
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Flowering stalks emerge from the ground that are about the same height as the leaves, or slightly higher. These stalks are terete (round in cross-section), rather than flat, and they are held stiffly erect.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Only harvest plants with the distinct odor of onions. Can cause low toxicity in humans but has the potential to be poisionous to livestock if consumed excessively. Poisonous through ingestion. Symptoms may include: nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (Poison parts: All parts; bulbs, bulblets, flowers, and stems)
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Sulfides
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems