Allium paniculatum

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Mediterranean onion
Allium paniculatum (inflorescence) 2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. paniculatum
Binomial name
Allium paniculatum

Allium paniculatum, common name pale garlic[3] or Mediterranean onion,[4] is a Eurasian species of wild onion with a range extending from Portugal to Kazakhstan.[5] It is widely cultivated and is now naturalized in several places outside its native range.[6]


Allium paniculatum produces several egg-shaped bulbs, each up to 1.5 cm across. No rhizomes. Leaves are tubular and hollow, up to 35 cm long. Scape is round in cross-section, solid, up to 75 cm tall. Inflorescence is (despite the name of the species) an umbel with as many as 100 flowers. Flowers are bell-shaped, about 6 mm across; tepals white to lilac; pollen and anthers yellow.[7][8]


A. paniculatum is placed within section Codonoprasum, subgenus Allium. The species has been regarded as highly variable, with up to 30 taxa included in what has been referred to as the A. paniculatum complex, many of which are now regarded as separate species within the section, including Allium dentiferum, A. fuscum, A. oleraceum, A. pallens, and A. tenuiflorum.[9]

Many taxa from within the section have been incorrectly attributed to this species causing uncertainty regarding morphological diversity and geographic distribution. For instance the species has been described as widely spread through the whole Euro-Mediterranean and Irano-Turanian areas, as well as in North Africa. However the type specimen comes from Ukraine ad South Russia.[9]

Phylogenetically A. paniculatum is in a sister relationship with three other species, namely A. oleraceum and the two western autumnal taxa, A. savii and A. telmatum, forming a subclade within the section.[9]


Allium paniculatum has been reported from every European country bordering on the Black and Mediterranean Seas, including the islands of Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Crete. It is also considered native in Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, western Siberia, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Palestine. It has become naturalized in California, New York State, Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands, and South Australia.[10][11] However see the above section, in which phylogenetic studies demonstrate that the true distribution is in fact confined to Ukraine and South Russia.

The species has been collected in the vicinity of San Francisco Bay in California, as well as isolated locales in Essex County in northeastern New York State. This is of concern because the species has the potential to become a noxious weed. It tends to grow in disturbed sites such as roadsides, cultivate fields, etc.[7][10]


  1. ^ Tropicos
  2. ^ The Plant List
  3. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  4. ^ "Allium paniculatum". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  5. ^ UTAD, Jardim Botánico, Lisboã
  6. ^ Bailey, L.H. & E.Z. Bailey. 1976. Hortus Third i–xiv, 1–1290. MacMillan, New York.
  7. ^ a b Flora of North America v 26 p 244, Allium paniculatum
  8. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1759. Systema Naturae, Editio Decima 2: 978.
  9. ^ a b c Salmeri et al 2016.
  10. ^ a b BONAP (Biota of North America Program) floristic synthesis, Allium paniculatum
  11. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families


  • Salmeri, Cristina; Brullo, Cristian; Brullo, Salvatore; Galdo, Giampietro Giusso Del; Moysiyenko, Ivan I. (March 2016). "What is Allium paniculatum? Establishing taxonomic and molecular phylogenetic relationships within A. sect. Codonoprasum". Journal of Systematics and Evolution. 54 (2): 123–135. doi:10.1111/jse.12170.