Allium jacquemontii - Gallery

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This page illustrates an onion species seldomly seen in cultivarion; Allium jacquemontii Kunth.  It's taxonomic history is one of considerable confusion, perhaps due to a wide distribution in Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and including China.  In the past, it's taxonomic placement has been intertwined with two other species, A. rubellum and A. griffithianum, and a host of synonymic name combinations.  Part of the uncertainty of verifying the identification of my plants is that each of the various geographical floras describe Allium jacquemontii rather differently.  The plants shown below might also be close to Allium rubellum, which remains to be positively determined.

Allium jacquemontii - umbel    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

Allium jacquemontii - side view     copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

Two views of Allium jacquemontii

This species is particularly lovely in flower, with showy, well-formed heads of glowing light pink, the florets of a distinctively open, funnel shape, revealing the conically formed stamens and anthers in the center.  The side view shows the umbel to be upright, semi- hemispherical, the color of the inflorescence enriched by the deep pink pedicels.

 

Allium jacquemontii - closeup of umbel    copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

 

Allium jacquemontii

In spring, lots of thread-fine grayish leaves, minutely scabrid to the touch, emerge from a modest cluster of small bulbs.  But by summer, the foliage on the smallest bulbs dry up for the season, while only the most mature bulbs put forth 12-18" (30-45 cm) flowering stems.  The umbels are dense and ample, up to 2" (5 cm) across, and sway aloft in the slightest breeze.  The flowers exude a peculiar sweet yet musky aroma, eventually becoming mildly unpleasant at late anthesis.

 

In this closeup view, the conically formed triangular stamens are clearly visible.

 

Compare this species with the beautiful Allium griffithianum, shown below.  In my garden, both species flowered in July (A. griffithianum only did this once, then died).

Allium jacquemontii - closeup view   copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

Allium griffithianum - closeup view   copyright  2000 Mark McDonough

Allium jacquemontii

In this close-up side-view of a flower head in early anthesis, the deep rose-red midveins are clearly visible, as are the short remains of the persistent spathe.

Allium griffithianum

Looking at these plants side-by-side illustrates the similarity in the species.  I was able to grow and flower this species only briefly, and I no longer have it.  The flower heads are stunning, of a carnous red-rose color with deep red midveins, and striking blood red pedicels. The individual florets are larger than A. jacquemontii. This species has a similar range as A. jacquemontii, but is unfortunately harder to come by, even though said to be a very common species in it's native habitat.

 

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Questions or comments on this page?  Contact Mark McDonough at antennaria@aol.com.

Images and textual content copyright 2000 Mark McDonough

This page was last updated on 02/12/01