Random Plant: Wild onion

Wild onion (Allium canadense, Liliaceae) photographed 04/15/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

A pungent onion scent in eastern forests and meadows often indicates the presence of wild onions (Allium canadense, Liliaceae).  While superficially resembling grass, digging up these plants can reveal their identity.  Although there are several wild onions in this area, the species shown here can be identified by the brown fibers surrounding the bulb:

Wild onion bulb (Allium canadense, Liliaceae) photographed 04/25/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Wild onions prefer moist or even wet soil, and I frequently find them in a floodplain forest in southeast Michigan.  These plants don’t look like much now, but with enough sunlight they’ll form umbels of showy pink flowers on their stalks.

About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
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