South Dakota Native Plant Research
Liliaceae : Allium textile

Liliaceae : Allium textile


Family Name


Common Name

Textile onion


Allium textile is a perennial herb coming from an underground egg-shaped bulb that is up to 2.5 cm long. This onion is shorter than the other common onions growing in South Dakota, often having multiple stems coming from a single bulb which grow from 10 to 30 cm in height. The stems are often curved or twisted in appearance. The plant has 1 or 2 flat grass-like leaves that are (2) 1-3 mm wide, alternately attached near the base, sheathing the stem, and may appear to be basal. Allium textile has numerous flowers arranged in a compact umbel and bloom from May to June.. The tepals are white to rarely pink in color, 5-7 mm long. The stamens are not exerted from the tepals as with the other common onions of the region. The fruit is a capsule. This species is commonly found throughout the state in mixed grass prairies, sagebrush steppes, meadows, open pine forests, and clearings.

Additional Notes

Textile onion is the most common wild onion on the prairie. It emerges early in spring when other forage is limited and then is readily grazed off by livestock. It can be eaten raw or cooked. Because the bulbs tend to be larger than other native onions, it is frequently consumed. In the garden it attracts bees.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Capsules can be collected in June ore July.
Germination: Seeds have some dormancy and can be scarified or planted in the fall.
Vegetative Propagation: Bulblets can be excavated and transplanted in the spring.

Soils: Grow well in most garden soils.
Light: Full sun to partial shade.
Water: Medium to dry.

Liliaceae : Allium textile