Allium columbianum
Columbia onion

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in far eastern Washington; Washington to Idaho and Montana.

Habitat: Seasonally wet soils on rock outcrops, wet meadows.

Flowers: May-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Review Group 1 in Washington (WANHP)


Scapose perennial herbs from bulbs not usually clustered on a stout primary rhizome, the inner coats white to pink, the outer coats brownish to grayish, lacking reticulation and enclosing at least 1 bulb.


Leaves typically persistent, green at time of flowering, sheathing basally with sheaths not extending far above soil surface; blade solid and flat, somewhat curved, 10-35 cm long and 5-8 mm wide, margins entire; scape persistent and solitary, cylindrical, 20-30 cm tall and 1.5-4 mm wide.


Umbels of 25-50 flowers, hemispheric to globose; scape persistent and solitary, cylindrical, 20-30 cm tall and 1.5-4 mm wide; spathe bracts 3, ovate.


Tepals 6, light or bright purple to purplish pink, lanceolate, acuminate, margins entire, becoming papery in fruit; stamens 6, equal to or longer than tepals with blue-grey anthers; ovary 3-chambered, stigma capitate.

Fruits :

Capsule dehiscing lengthwise along back of carpal, containing 2 shiny black seeds.

Accepted Name:
Allium columbianum (Ownbey & Mingrone) P. M. Peterson, Annable & Rieseberg
Publication: Syst. Bot. 13: 211. 1988.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Allium douglasii Hook. var. columbianum Ownbey & Mingrone [HC]
Additional Resources:

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

WA Flora Checklist: Allium columbianum checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Allium columbianum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Allium columbianum photos.

USDA Plants: Allium columbianum information.

13 photographs:
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