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Allium cernuum / Nodding Onion


Nodding onion is a perennial herb found on dry, rocky slopes and banks. Its nodding umbels of white to lavender blooms attract bumblebees. Its edible onion-flavor bulbs were a traditional food for Native peoples.

In gardens, it can be utilized as a showy low herb near borders and in rock gardens. It reproduces clonally from bulb offsets.

Form: Low herb

Height: <1′ tall

Blooms: June, July, August

Siting: Well-drained to moist, sun to part sun

Deer Resistance: High




Wildlife Associations: Nectar source for bumblebees, honeybees, Anthophorine bees, and Halictid bees.

Restoration: Secondary species for augmenting restoration of rocky exposed areas with less disturbed soils.

Herbalism: Uses recorded for respiratory infections, colds, sore throat, somewhat like garlic or garden onions.

Edibility: Bulbs, leaves, and flowers are eaten either raw or cooked. Native peoples used the plant as a staple in preparing soups, sauces, in pit cooking, and other uses.

Other uses: Not recorded

Provenance: Horticultural


Additional information