Long-stemmed Onion

Long-stemmed onions (Allium amplectans) grow in vernal wet clays and serpentine soils from British Columbia through California.

Growing from an edible bulb, long-stemmed onions have two to four narrow leaves that begin to whither when the plant flowers. The leaves have parallel veins. The erect stem grows from 6″ to 12″ in height and terminates in an inflorescence of white to pink flowers with long peduncles (stalks). The flower parts are in threes – six tepals and six stamens with blue anthers. (A tepal resembles a petal but is not clearly either a petal or sepal.) When closed the inflorescence is covered by bright magenta bracts, the remains of which linger throughout the flowering stage.

Long-stemmed onions are native perennials. Other common names include paper onion, white onion and narrow-leaf onion.

Another Allium species, the dwarf onion A. parvum (see my 03-07-2016 post)  looks similar but  differs in in stem length, peduncle length and a darker stripe on the tepals.

This long-stemmed onion was growing on the moist rocky slope upstream from the Lower Campground at Ash Creek (Lassen County CA).

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