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Botanical Name: Allium macropetalum
Species: A. macropetalum
*Allium deserticola (M.E. Jones) Wooton & Standl.
*Allium reticulatum var. deserticola M.E. Jones
Common Name: Largeflower Wild Onion, Desert onion
Habitat : Allium macropetalum is native to the desert regions of southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is known from desert plains and hills in Sonora, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, at elevations up to 2500 m. It grows on desert plains and hills at elevations of 300 to 2500 metres.
Allium macropetalum forms egg-shaped bulbs up to 2.5 cm long. Leaves are green, long (6 inches) and thin; half-cylindrical (semiterete) in cross-section. Flowers are attractive bell-shaped, mostly light pink but with a distinct, dark pink or purple vertical stripe along the middle. Each flower has 6 tepals, and they occur in clusters (umbels) of between 10 and 20 heads. Tepals are lanceolate in shape, and approximately equal in size. Tepal tips may be pointed or obtuse. Anthers are yellow or purplish.
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The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. 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.
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. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Bulb – raw or cooked. They can be dried and stored for winter use. The North American Indians would singe the bulb to reduce the strong flavour and then eat it immediately or dry it for later use. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
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.
The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles
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 supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.