Allium acuminatum

Botanical Name : Allium acuminatum
Family : Alliaceae
Genus : Allium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Species: A. acuminatum

Common Name: Tapertip onion or Hooker’s onion


Habitat
: Allium acuminatum is native to  Western N. America – Washington to N. California.It grows in amongst dry sunny rocks on hills and plains.

Description:
Plant:  perennial
; scape terete full length, 10-35 cm. Traditionally, bulbs were dug in the spring and eaten by the Thompson.
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It is hardy to zone 6. It is in flower from May to June. Its bulbs are small and spherical and smell like onions. The flowers are pink to purple on a long stem which appear after the leaves have died.

Flowers: 10-20 flowers per scape; outer tepals commonly purple-rose, lanceolate, 8-15 mm, becoming involute margined and keeled, tips spreading to recurved; inner tepals smaller than outer series

Bulb: Bulb growing to 0.3m by 0.08m.    New bulb is formed inside of the bulb coat of the parent bulb, bulb coat maked with squarish reticulations

The long, narrow basal leaves typical of the Onion Family can be seen dried in the lower part of the picture at left.  Many wild animals eat the bulbs and the onion-flavored leaves of this and other Alliaceae.

Leaves: slightly channeled or V-shaped in cross section

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The onions were eaten by first peoples in southern British Columbia. They were harvested in either early spring or late fall and usually cooked in pits.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Cultivation :
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil.  The bulbs tend to rot when grown in cool wet climates, even if they are given sharp drainage. This species is best in a cold frame and given a dry summer rest.  The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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Propagation:
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle – if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root; Seed.

Bulb – raw or cooked.   Eaten in spring and early summer. A strong flavour . The bulb is 10 – 15mm wide .  Leaves – raw or cooked. Used as a relish. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads. The seed heads can be placed in hot ashes for a few minutes, then the seeds extracted and eaten.

Medicinal  Actions & Uses

Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses : …Repellent.....The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles. The bulbs can be rubbed on the skin to repel insects.

Known Hazards :  Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Other Uses
Repellent.

The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles . The bulbs can be rubbed on the skin to repel insects.

Known Hazards : Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible .

Resources:

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Allium+acuminatum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_acuminatum
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALAC4&photoID=alac4_005_ahp.jpg
http://www.cwnp.org/photopgs/adoc/alacuminatum.html
http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Pink%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/allium.htm
http://www.penstemon.org/Idaho07PreviewPartTwo.htm

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