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Manitoba Museum

Lily (Liliaceae)

Pink Flowered Onion

Allium stellatum Fraser

The flowers of this native perennial plant attract butterflies and small insects such as Flower Flies and solitary bees. Similar to chives, the plants have an onion smell, and both the leaves and bulbs can be safely eaten raw or parboiled in small amounts. Plants have also been used for medicinal purposes. The scent and flavour are not palatable to most herbivores, but the leaves are sometimes consumed along with grass.

Flower Colour:

  • Pink

Flowering Season:

  • Summer
  • Fall

Flowering Months:

  • August
  • July
  • October
  • September

Canadian Rarity Status:

Not rare

Physical Appearance:

The linear, flat leaves occur in a basal tuft, and have smooth edges, sometimes dying back before flowering. The erect flowering stalk grows 30-60 cm tall from among the basal leaves and is topped by a rounded cluster of flowers. Each flower is star-shaped with three sepals and three petals that flare outwards. Fruits are capsules containing up to six black seeds each.

Similar Species:

Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum Roth), Prairie Onion (Allium textile A. Nels. & Macbr.)

Gardening Notes:

Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Plants are a good addition to prairie gardens, and can be propagated by seed or division of bulb clusters.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Manitoba
  • Ontario
  • Saskatchewan

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie


  • Lake Shores
  • Parklands
  • Prairies
  • Rocky Slopes

Moisture Conditions:

  • Dry
  • Moderate

Light Preference:

  • Full Sun
  • Part Shade

Soil Preference:

  • Loam
  • Sand
Pink Flowered Onion