Allium cuthbertii Small - Striped Onion

Allium cuthbertii plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems:

Allium cuthbertii bulbBulb with cross-hatch fibrous coating.

Leaves:

N/A

Inflorescence:

Allium cuthbertii inflorescence

Allium cuthbertii sheathSheath of inflorescence.

Flowers:

Allium cuthbertii flower

Flowering - May - June.

Habitat - Pine flatwoods, sandhills.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This little onion species can be found in just a handful of mainly southern Alabama counties. The plant can be identified by its bulbs, which have a coating a cross-hatch fibrous scales, and its flowers, which have a crested ovary and capsule. The crest of the ovary is pointed-out below:

Allium cuthbertii flower

Another species, Allium canadense L., is similar but lacks the crested ovary and capsule. A. canadense is more common in Alabama than A. cuthbertii.
Allium is the Latin for "Onion" or "Garlic."
The species epithet cuthbertii is named for Alfred Cuthbert. Dr. Richard Wunderlin sent this information about Cuthbert - "Alfred Cuthbert (1857-1932), plant collector whom J. K. Small commemorated with the genus Cuthbertia (Commelinaceae) and several species in other families (e.g. Alllium cutherbii)."

Alabama Distribution:

Allium cuthbertii map

Photographs taken off Menawa Rd., Lee County, AL., 5-29-06.


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