Nutt. ex Ker Gawl.
- Perennial forb from a bulb.
Base of plant.
- Bulbs to 4 cm, with a papery outer coating and slightly thickened roots. Aerial stems to 60 cm tall, erect, terete, glabrous, sometimes glaucous, bent at the apex when immature, becoming erect with age, green.
Portion of stem and persistent, flat leaf blade.
- Basal or nearly so, to 40 cm long, 5 mm broad or less, flattened, linear, present during anthesis, light green.
- Terminal umbel with numerous flowers, nodding when immature. Bulblets absent. Pedicels much longer than the flowers, glabrous, purplish in strong sun, to 2 cm long.
These views illustrate the hooked peduncle of an immature inflorescence.
- Perianth pink, widely spreading, 6-parted, the tepals to 7 mm 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.
- Capsules 3-5 mm long, obovoid, 3-lobed, each lobe with a pair of hornlike, triangular projections near the top. Seeds black.
Partially dehisced fruits.
- July - November.
- Glades, bluffs, open dry woods, roadsides.
- Native to U.S.
- This showy species is reasonably common in Missouri glades south of the Missouri River. 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. Note that
can sometimes be confused with the closely related
, which looks similar. The latter species has nodding inflorescences (
means "nodding"), but
does this as well when not fully mature. The inflorescence of
becomes erect with time. A more reliable difference between the two plants is the flower shape.
has a spreading and open perianth, whereas the perianth of
is campanulate (bell-shaped).
The natural range of this species is peculiar, apparently comprising two disjunct populations. It is found in Missouri and adjoining states, and separately in the north-central U.S. and into Canada.
Photographs taken in Eminence, MO., 9-21-03 (DETenaglia); also at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 8-19-2007; Taum Sauk State Park, Iron County, MO, 7-18-2011; Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Camden County, MO, 9-2-2012; and Victoria Glade, Jefferson County, MO, 9-7-2014 (SRTurner).