Allium helleri Small
Allium nuttallii S.Watson
Allium reticulatum nuttallii (S.Watson) M.E.Jones
Common Name: Prairie Onion
Allium drummondii is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing 2 - 5 leaves 10 - 30cm long and a flowering scape 10 - 30cm tall from a group of 1 - 5 underground bulbs[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food
Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
N. America - Nebraska, south to New Mexico, northeast Mexico, Texas and Arkansas
Sandy or gravelly, often limestone soils on dry prairies and hills[
]. Plains, hills, and prairies, particularly in limestone soils; at elevations up to 1,600 metres[
Allium drummondii is found in areas that have cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers. It needs a well-drained soil and, in cold wet areas will need the added protection of a frame.
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[
]. Succeeds in the rock garden, though in cold wet areas it is best grown in a bulb frame or cold greenhouse[
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[
The plants are much liked by grazing animals and have become rare or absent on pasture land[
Bulb - raw or cooked[
]. Used mainly as a condiment[
], the bulb is also eaten as a vegetable[
]. The bulb is rather small, up to 25mm tall and 15mm in diameter[
Leaves - raw or cooked.
Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system[
Allium species usually grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes[
]. They are, in general, bad companions for alfalfa - each species negatively affecting the other[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the juice of most species in this genus (especially those with a strong onion or garlic smell) can be used as a moth repellent[
The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle - if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough.
Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.