Allium cernuum

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Nodding onion
Allium cernuum 3153.JPG
A plant in bloom in Anacortes, Washington
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
A. cernuum
Binomial name
Allium cernuum
  • Allium alatum Schreb. ex Roth
  • Allium allegheniense Small
  • Allium cernuum f. alba J.K.Henry
  • Allium cernuum subsp. neomexicanum (Rydb.) Traub & Ownbey
  • Allium cernuum var. neomexicanum (Rydb.) J.F.Macbr.
  • Allium cernuum f. obtusum Cockerell
  • Allium cernuum var. obtusum (Cockerell) Cockerell
  • Allium cernuum subsp. obtusum (Cockerell) Traub & Ownbey
  • Allium cernuum var. obtusum Cockerell ex J.F. Macbr.
  • Allium neomexicanum Rydb.
  • Allium nutans Schult. & Schult.f.
  • Allium oxyphilum Wherry
  • Allium recurvatum Rydb.
  • Allium tricorne Poir.
  • Calliprena cernua (Roth) Salisb.
  • Cepa cernua (Roth) Moench
  • Gynodon cernuum (Roth) Raf.
  • Gynodon elliotii Raf.
  • Gynodon rupestre Raf.

Allium cernuum, known as nodding onion or lady's leek, is a perennial plant in the genus Allium. It grows in dry woods, rock outcroppings, and prairies. It has been reported from much of the United States, Canada and Mexico including in the Appalachian Mountains from Alabama to New York State, the Great Lakes Region, the Ohio and Tennessee River Valleys, the Ozarks of Arkansas and Missouri, and the Rocky and Cascade Mountains of the West, from Mexico to Washington. It has not been reported from California, Nevada, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Delaware, New England, or much of the Great Plains. In Canada, it grows from Ontario to British Columbia.[3][4][5][6][7]


Allium cernuum has an unsheathed slender conical bulb which gradually tapers directly into several keeled grass-like leaves (2–4 mm, 332532 in wide). Each mature bulb bears a single flowering stem, which terminates in a downward nodding umbel of white or rose flowers. Flowers appear in July or August. They are bell-shaped, about 5 mm (316 in) across, pink or white with yellow pollen and yellow anthers. This plant does not have bulblets in the inflorescence.

The flowers mature into spherical crested fruits which later split open to reveal the dark shiny seeds.[3][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]


Allium cernuum is edible and has a strong onion flavor, and has often been used in cooking. It is cultivated in many places for its attractive flowers.[15]


  1. ^ "Allium cernuum". Tropicos. Missouri Botanical Garden.
  2. ^ "Allium cernuum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  3. ^ a b McNeal Jr., Dale W.; Jacobsen, T. D. (2002). "Allium cernuum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 26. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ "Allium cernuum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  5. ^ "Allium cernuum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA.
  6. ^ Brako, L.; Rossman, A.Y.; Farr, D.F. (1995). Scientific and Common Names of 7,000 Vascular Plants in the United States. pp. 1–294.
  7. ^ CONABIO. 2009. Catálogo taxonómico de especies de México. 1. In Capital Nat. México. CONABIO, Mexico City.
  8. ^ Hilty, John (2016). "Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum)". Illinois Wildflowers.
  9. ^ Roth, Albrecht Wilhelm (1798). "Novae Plantarum Species" [New Species of Plants]. Archiv für die Botanik. 1 (3): 40.
  10. ^ Gleason, H. A.; Cronquist, A.J. (1991). Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (2 ed.). Bronx: New York Botanical Garden. pp. i–910.
  11. ^ Cronquist, A.J.; Holmgren, A. H.; Holmgren, N. H.; Reveal, J. L. (1977). "Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A.". In Cronquist, A.J.; Holmgren, A. H.; Holmgren, N. H.; Reveal, J. L.; Holmgren, P. K. (eds.). Intermountain Flora. 6. New York: Hafner Pub. Co. pp. 1–584.
  12. ^ Hitchcock, C. H.; Cronquist, A.J.; Ownbey, F. M.; Thompson, J. W. (1969). "Vascular Cryptogams, Gymnosperms, and Monocotyledons". In Hitchcock, C. L. (ed.). Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. 1. Seattle: University of Washington Press. pp. 1–914.
  13. ^ Radford, A. E.; Ahles, H. E.; Bell, C. R. (1968). Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. pp. i–lxi, 1–1183.
  14. ^ Moss, E. H. (1983). Flora of Alberta (2 ed.). Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. i–xii, 1–687.
  15. ^ Bailey, L.H.; Bailey, E.Z. (1976). Hortus Third. New York: MacMillan. pp. i–xiv, 1–1290.