American Alliums - Gallery 2

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Gallery 3


 

Allium perdulce    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough Allium plummerae - full plant view   copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

Allium perdulce
Among the best of the American allium species
is Allium perdulce.  The species name translates
to "very sweet", alluding to the exceptionally
sweet, hyacinth-scented blooms.  Common in
the American central prairie states, it is
surprisingly absent from general cultivation, perhaps because it's so slow growing and
rarely sets seed.  May, 4"-6" (10-15 cm) tall.
line drawing - whole plant with bulb

Allium plummerae
This species has a narrow distribution in
Arizona and adjacent northern Mexico in
the mountains, usually on marshy ground and
stream banks.  Easy to grow in normal garden
soil, this species has proved to be one of the
best American species.  It's a neat, upright
grower, with handsome clusters of upfacing
flowers in late June - August, growing up to
18" (45 cm) tall.

 

Allium plummerae - early anthesis    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough Allium plummerae - late anthesis    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough
Allium plummerae - early anthesis
In this view, the flowers are just emerging from
the papery spathe, held in upright, fastigiate
umbels.  The clean white flowers have broad,
triangular tepals with pinkish midveins, and
a noticeably waxen texture.
Allium plummerae - late anthesis
As the flowers mature and become fertilized
the center ovary changes from light yellow to a
dark reddish-brown color.  Here, the low-domed
semi-hemispherical shape of the umbels can be
clearly seen.

 

 

Allium robinsonii - in situ   copyright  2000 Mark McDonough Allium robinsonii - type habitat    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough
Allium robinsonii
This is a very rare species found only along the
banks of the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and
Washington, although considered extinct from
the type Oregon locale. This beautiful little onion
grows in pure sand on river "benches" just above
the high water mark, along a few stretches of
the Columbia River in Washington where the
river is not yet dammed. The spathe is dark
reddish purple, and the soft pink flowers are
nicely accented with blackish-red anthers.
Allium robinsonii - typical habitat
The Columbia River Gorge is magnificent to
behold, well known for supporting a diverse,
specialized flora.  Within a few feet of the
water's edge, usually under the scant
protection of low twiggy bushes of
Salvia dorrii var. carnosa, occasionally
one can find this diminuitive onion. Plants
flower near the end of May.

 

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Images and textual content copyright 2000 Mark McDonough