Allium stellatum  Ker Gawl.

Allium stellatum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Bulbs to 3-4cm long, with a papery outer coating and slightly thickened roots. Aerial stems to +/-50cm tall, erect, terete, glabrous, sometimes glaucous, bent at the apex when immature, becoming erect with age, green.

Allium stellatum bulbBulb with papery outer coating.

Allium stellatum stemPortion of stem and persistent, flat leaf blade.

Leaves - All basal or near the base, non extending more than 1/3 up from the base of the plant, to 40cm long, 5mm broad or less, present during anthesis, light green.

Inflorescence - Terminal umbel with +/-50 flowers, nodding when immature. Pedicels much longer than the flowers, glabrous, purplish in strong sun, to +2cm long.

Allium stellatum inflorescenceView of the bent peduncle of an immature inflorescence.

Flowers - Perianth pink, spreading, 6-parted. The tepals to 7mm long, elliptic, typically acute at the apex, glabrous. Stamens 6, erect, exserted beyond the perianth parts. Filaments terete, pink, glabrous. Anthers yellow when fresh, quickly becoming brown. Style pink, terete, glabrous, shorter than or equaling the stamens.

Allium stellatum flowerFlower close-up.

Flowering - July - November.

Habitat - Glades, bluffs, open dry woods, roadsides.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This showy species can be found in the Ozark region of Missouri. It is the latest blooming onion in Missouri and is easy to identify in the field. The papery-covered bulb, pink flowers, and flat, persistent leaves are good characters to look for.
A. stellatum can sometimes be confused with another plant, A. cernuum Roth, because both can have nodding inflorescences (cernuum means "nodding"). The inflorescence of A. stellatum only nods when it is immature and will become erect with time. The difference between the two plants is in the flowers. A. stellatum has a spreading and open perianth. The perianth of A. cernuum is campanulate (shaped like a bell).

Photographs taken in Eminence, MO., 9-21-03.


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