Dwarf Onion

Another early spring wildflower, dwarf onion (Allium parvum), can be found in rocky, dry areas, especially talus slopes, in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah and Montana.

The flowers of dwarf onion appear to have six petals, however, the flowers are actually composed of three pink petals and three pink sepals, all of which  have prominent mid-veins. The anthers are purplish or yellow. The inflorescence (flower cluster) sits atop a very short stalk (peduncle) and arises directly from the ground. There are two  flat, grass-like leaves that tower above the inflorescence. The leaves are strongly curved and resemble a sickle. The leaves whither rapidly after the flowers develop and by midsummer there is little evidence of the dwarf onion plant remaining.

Dwarf onion smells and tastes like an onion and arises from an onion-like bulb. I have tasted them and indeed they do have the flavor of a mild onion. The entire plant, like all Allium species, is edible and can be used like commercial onions. However, many of these small plants would need to be destroyed for most recipes,making their culinary use ecologically undesirable.

A native perennial, dwarf onion is also commonly called small onion.

This specimen was growing on a rocky slope near the Lower Ash Creek Campground (Lassen County CA).

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One Response to Dwarf Onion

  1. Pingback: Long-stemmed Onion | The Nature Niche

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