Soft, grasslike leaves and a 1-2 ft., leafless flowering stalk rise from a bulb. The stem bends so that the pink flowers, borne in a cluster at the top, nod toward the ground. An umbel of many pink or white flowers at the tip of a long, erect, leafless stalk, bent like a shepherd’s crook; a basal cluster of several long, narrow leaves. All parts of the perennial have a mild, oniony scent.
This plant is closely related to the Autumn Wild Onion (A. stellatum) but differs in its unique nodding flower cluster and earlier flowering. One of the rarer Carolinian species because of its restricted habitat.
It is principally found on Lake Erie islands, the southern most land in Canada.
It is edible and has medicinal uses similar to garlic. (Lamb/Rhynard).
Eaten sparingly by Northwest Coast First Nations. They were steamed in pits lined with cedar boughs and covered with lichen and alder boughs. After they were eaten, or dried in strings or on mats or pressed into cakes. EDIBLE PARTS: Leaves, bulbs and bulblets. Field garlic (A. vineale), introduced from Eurasia and northern Africa, is too strong for most tastes. Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem bulblets are collected during the summer. Use as domestic onions, for seasoning or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. To freeze onions or garlic, one should coarsely chop, blanch two minutes, drain, pat dry and place them into plastic bags. The bulbs can also be dried for use as seasoning. Use flower bulbs to flavor soup or for pickling. Attracts hairstreak butterfly. The city of Chicago gets its name from the Algonquin Indian name for this plant, chigagou.
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.
Edible Plants for North Georgia
January 10, 2010
We are planning a forest food garden in the hollers of the N GA Mountains. Which edible fruit, nut, berry, herb and creepers would be best for this reddish, clay-like soil? The food garden is in...
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