Common Name: Shortstyle Onion
Allium brevistylum is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing 2 - 5 leaves 10 - 40cm long and a flowering scape 20 - 60cm tall from an underground bulb. The plant divides, forming in time a cluster of plants[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine, and possibly also 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[
Western N. America - Rocky Mountains from Idaho to Montana, south to New Mexico
Swampy meadows and along streams, rarely on wooded slopes; at elevations from 2,200 - 3,400 metres[
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[
]. This species tolerates much wetter soils than most members of the genus but it dislikes winters with alternating periods of damp and cold and no snow cover, so it is best given a damp though well-drained soil[
]. It requires plenty of moisture in the growing season[
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
Plants can be confused with Alium validum[
We have seen no specific mention of edibility for this species. However, Alliums in general are all more or less edible, and several are major food crops. It is very likely that the following parts of this species can also be eaten[
Bulb - raw or cooked. The plant has thick iris-like rhizomes[
]. The bulb is up to 3cm long and 1cm wide[
Leaves - raw or cooked. The young and succulent leaves are relished by many animals[
Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads.
A poultice of the ground root and stems, or an infusion of them, is used as a wash for carbuncles[
Although no other 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.