South Dakota Native Plant Research
Liliaceae: Allium stellatum

Liliaceae: Allium stellatum


Download Seed: Pink wild onion seed is dark black in color. (52 KB)

Download Seedling: Allium seedling grown in research garden at Oak Lake Research Station near Brookings, SD. (126 KB)

Download Vegetative: The leaves are 1-4 mm wide. (117 KB)

Download Flowering: The inflorescence is an umbel. (962 KB)

Download Fruiting: Allium produces fruit in late August. (777 KB)

Download Allium plant . (538 KB)

Download A. stellatum onion bulb (578 KB)

Family Name


Common Name

Autumn Onion, Prairie Onion, Pink wild onion

Native American Name

Dakota: Psin


Allium stellatum is a perennial herb, arising from a bulb as a leafless scape growing from 20 to 60 cm tall. The stem is surrounded by grass-like lanceolate basal leaves that are up to 30 long. The leaves die back as the rounded umbel of pink to purple flowers emerge at the end of the scape in late summer. The umbel is 5–8 cm across, and each of the flowers has 6 tepals that flare outward and are about 6 mm long. The stamens are exerted, and the pistil has 6 locules. The fruit is a capsule with usually 1 seed per locule. This species is commonly found on prairies and hillsides.

Additional Notes

The bulbs of prairie onions are very strong but can be eaten raw or used in the same manner as domestic onions. In the garden, they are a good attractant for butterflies and are tolerant of deer.

Horticulture Notes

Seed Collection: Collect seed in late August or September
Germination: Scarify or fall sow for spring germination
Soils: Will grow in most soils.
Light: Full sun to partial shade
Water: Moist to dry.
Notes: Seed will be black in color when mature and have an onion-like odor

Liliaceae: Allium stellatum