Allium dictyotum Greene
Allium funiculosum A.Nelson
Allium pikeanum Rydb.
Common Name: Geyer's Onion
Allium geyeri is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing usually 3 - 5 leaves 12 - 30cm long and a flowering scape 10 - 50cm tall from an underground bulb. The plant divides, forming in time a cluster of plants[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food.
The species is widespread and while it is declining in parts of its range, it is not thought that the overall population decline is likely to meet 30% over the past or future three generations. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
The sub-species Allium geyeri tenerum forms bulbils in its flowering head instead of flowers and seeds[
]. This form should not be introduced to gardens outside its native range because of the possibility of it becoming a weed[
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 - British Colombia to Saskatchewan, south to New Mexico and Texas
Low meadows and by streams in the Rocky Mountains[
]. Moist, open slopes, meadows, or stream banks in mountains; at elevations from 200 - 4,000 metres[
Allium geyeri is fairly cold tolerant, able to survive occasional dips to around -10°c, but it does not handle winter wet very well[
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[
]. Used mainly as an onion-flavouring in soups etc, though they were also occasionally eaten raw[
]. The bulbs are eaten by the Navajo Indians[
]. The bulbs are up to 25mm long and 20mm 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 greenhouse. The seed can also be sown as soon as it is ripe 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 of the plants in summer as they die down. The divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions if required.