I'm always surprised by the variability of A.
cernuum, particularly when grown from many sources, and
when intraspecific hybrids occur between forms of the species. In
the form shown below, the flower
head is very large, to about 3-1/2" across, with deeply colored
florets on widely spaced pedicels of good
architectural form. The pedicels tend to be thick and a dark
gray-green color, adding to the effect.
In the image below we see a similar variant, but with lighter pink
flowers, more strongly arching pedicels,
and darker, sooty dark gray pedicels creating a dramatic effect.
form shown below is probably a hybrid, with what species I do not know,
but notice that the stems
barely nod at all and at full anthesis, the head of florets stand
upright. In this particular form, the florets
fertilize and develop green seed capsules so quickly as to detract from
the floral show.
Sometimes offered up as its own species, Allium "oxyphilum", it
has been recognized that this eastern USA
onion is really just a white-flowered variant of Allium cernuum.
However it does distinguish itself as having the
most delicate nodding candelabras of tiny white bells on unusually thin
pedicels, with graceful form. The
plant will hybridize readily with other forms of cernuum, creating mostly
pink offspring, but often contributing
the graceful extra thin arching disposition to the
inflorescence. My plants are from a known collected source
corresponding to the type "species", but to
distinguish the plant I've been calling it Allium cernuum 'Oxy White'.
Allium "Tidy Pink" - newly selected in 2007, but under
observation for some years. On the left there is a
good normally shaped form of Allium cernuum, but center stage is a very
neat form with tiny compact clusters
about and inch and a quarter across, much smaller than normal. The
effect is charming.