Allium textile (White Wild Onion)

Plant Info
Also known as: Textile Onion
Family:Alliaceae (Onion)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry sandy or rocky soil; prairies, roadsides
Bloom season:May - June
Plant height:4 to 10 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Flower shape: bell Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] 1-inch round cluster at the top of a naked stem, made up of 15 to 30 stalked white flowers with 6 tepals (petals) and 6 creamy-tipped stamens. Flowers are urn to bell shaped, about ¼ inch long, usually white, rarely pink, with a distinct purplish midrib down the center of each tepal. At the base of the cluster are 3 bracts, usually with a single vein.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: simple

A plant has 1 or 2 flat grass-like leaves, each about 1/16 inch wide and as long as the flowering stalk, alternately attached near the base, sheathing the stem, and may appear to be basal. Stems are smooth and green. Underground are 1 to 3 gray or brown bulbs covered in a fine mesh of fibers.


White Wild Onion is a shorter plant than most other Allium species found in Minnesota, and most other prairie Allium species more consistently have pink flowers. A western species, Minnesota is on the eastern edge of its range and it's found primarily in dry prairies in counties near the Dakota border. All Allium species were formerly in the Liliaceae (Lily) family, but are now in Alliaceae (Onion).

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in North and South Dakota.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: kate r - minneapolis
on: 2020-05-28 14:35:45

I have this in my yard and parkland near me, it was planted as part of a native wild flower garden and it has taken over. It is so happy here.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-05-28 14:39:11

Kate, I have 2 or 3 Allium species in the garden. They are all very happy here, too, and seem to multiply like rabbits. :-)

Posted by: Kate R - Minneapolis
on: 2021-09-11 18:57:38

I had commented previously that I had this one, but they are too tall. I think they are Chinese chives now. We have areas of dense monoculture and the plants are over 24 inches. I see many plants in the gardens in my neighborhood. I harvest the seeds while they are still green and the flowers blooming to stop the spread.

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