Allium cernuum hybrids


The American nodding onion, Allium cernuum, is receptive to hybridization, readily
crossing among variable forms of the same species, with A. stellatum, and rather
  surprisingly, with European and Asian rhizomatous alliums such as A. nutans,
senescens, and other species.   

Allium 'Green Eyes' is one of the better chance hybrids that appeared in a nursery
area of my yard, where I had potted plants of both A. cernuum and A. senescens.
This hybrid shows strong grayish strap foliage similar to senescens, but with the
trademark nodding heads and arched pedicels of A. cernuum.  As is typical of such
crosses, the central ovaries are larger, green, and more conspicuous, hence the
name I've given this fine plant, 'Green Eyes'.  Depending on the weather, the florets
are pure white or noticeably tinged with pink, held in densely packed nodding
domes, topping semi-contorted, strongly angled stems which are almost square
in cross-section.  The stems reach 24"-28" in height.  July blooming.

 

 

 


Another view of Allium 'Green Eyes' (a. cernuum x senescens).



In the image below is a bizarre aberration, where one flower head of Allium cernuum sports a thick fasciated 
stem that is flat and broadest new the top, and an amazing densified head of bright pink flowers. Often,
hybrids between A. cernuum and species like senescens/nutans produce odd-looking plants with bizarre
features and growth patterns, so I separated out this plant for observation.  The following year, it flowered

normally, so perhaps it was just an aberration that year and not really a hybrid after all.



 

Allium cernuum x rubens - growing up among flats of potted Allium rubens (a  small rhizomatous onion
from Europe and Asia), came this surprising find, now doubt a bee-induced influence from large flowering clumps
of Allium cernuum.  In this hybrid one sees characteristics of both parents, yet resulting in something totally
unique. The pale pink bloom heads are miniscule, closer to the few-flowered heads on Allium rubens, yet held
in a way similar to cernuum.  In July, the tiny orb-like florets barely open to allow the stigma to stick out.  



 

 

Another view of Allium cernuum x rubens, showing the oddly shaped flower heads.  Also noticeable here
is the tendency for the strongly winged flower stalks to be sinuous and semi-contorted, up to 2' or more in
length.  This plant will not get named, it's just one of those botanical curiosities that are fun to observe.

 

 

 

Photos by Mark McDonough

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Questions or comments on this page?  Contact Mark McDonough at antennaria@charter.net.

Images and textual content copyright 2007 Mark McDonough

This page was last updated on 08/25/07