Allium deserticola (M.E.Jones) Wooton & Standl.
Allium reticulatum deserticola M.E.Jones
Common Name: Largeflower Wild Onion
Allium macropetalum is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing 2 leaves 8 - 20cm long and a flowering scape 5 - 20cm tall from an underground bulb[
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[
South-western N. America - Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, northern Mexico
Desert plains and hills; at elevations of 300 - 2,500 metres[
Allium macropetalum is a plant of semi-arid areas with hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. It can tolerate winter temperatures dipping occasionally to between -5 and -10Â°c or lower but, even in well-drained soils, can be killed by summer wet. In moister parts of the temperate zone it is probably best to grow the plant in a bulb frame, with water being withheld in late summer[
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[
Bulb - raw or cooked[
]. They can be dried and stored for winter use[
]. The North American Indians would singe the bulb to reduce the strong flavour and then eat it immediately or dry it for later use[
]. The ovoid bulb is 15 - 25mm x 10 - 20mm[
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.