Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Allium cernuum
nodding onion

Distribution: Occurring on both sides of the Cascades crest in Washington; British Columbia to Oregon, east to the Rocky Mountains; also in central and southeastern U.S.

Habitat: Open, somewhat moist areas, sea level to high elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Scapose perennial herbs from clustered, elongate bulbs, the inner coats usually pinkish, the outer coats grayish or brownish.


Leaves several per bulb, concave-convex to plane in cross section1-6 mm. broad, shorter than the scape, persistent at maturity; scape 1-5 dm. tall, usually terete, abruptly recurved near the apex;


Umbel few-to many-flowered, the slender pedicels 2-3 times the length of the tepals; perianth bell-shaped, the 6 segments 4-6 mm. long, elliptic-ovate, obtuse, entire, pink or white; stamens 6, exerted; style filiform, exerted; stigma capitate.


Capsule 3-celled, crested with 6 distinct, flattened processes.

Accepted Name:
Allium cernuum Roth
Publication: Arch. Bot. (Leipzig). 1: 40. 1798.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Allium allegheniense Small
Allium oxyphilum Wherry
Allium recurvatum Rydb.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Allium cernuum in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Allium cernuum checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Allium cernuum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Allium cernuum photos.

USDA Plants: Allium cernuum information.

33 photographs:
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