Allium cernuum

Nodding Onion, Lady's Leek

Allium cernuum Roth is an herbaceous perennial common across the Plateau and the Coastal regions. Nodding onion grows 10 to 50 cm tall and has pink to rose-purpole flowers on a drooping, umbrella-like head and an unmistakable onion smell. The plant grows from oval, tapering, and faintly pink bulbs which are often clustered in the wild. Bulbs are elongate and narrow, tapering into the main stem.

Cultural Narrative: 

Nodding onions were quite popular in both the interior and on the coast. Bulbs could be eaten raw or roasted over an open fire, but were usually bundled together and steamed in underground earth ovens overnight. They were sometimes interspersed with black tree lichen (Bryoria spp.) and camas bulbs (Camassia spp.) or other roots.


Location Description: 

Nodding onion is found throughout much of North America in open woods and exposed areas.