Allium cernuum Roth
Nodding Onion
Amaryllidaceae (Lily family)
(Previously in Liliaceae)

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Gary Lewis     (Photo ID #5313)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Allium cernuum
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

Perennial herb from an elongate, long-necked, narrowly egg-shaped, scaly bulb, the outer scales membranous, without a fibrous network, the inner scales faintly pinkish, the bulbs often clustered; flowering stems erect but down-curved near the top, 10-50 cm tall, slender, often somewhat angled, smooth.
Basal leaves several per bulb, linear, flat to channeled, shorter than the flowering stem, about 3 mm wide, smooth, the margins entire or minutely toothed; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence a compact, terminal, nodding umbel of several to many, stalked flowers, above 2 membranous bracts, the stalks 1-3 cm long, the bracts soon deciduous; flowers pink to rose-purple or whitish, bell-shaped, of 6 distinct tepals, the tepals 4-6 mm long, elliptic-egg-shaped, blunt; stamens 6, exserted; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Capsules, more or less egg-shaped, 3-lobed, with 6 crests, 2 on each lobe; seeds 6 or fewer, dull-black.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Allium cernuum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres)
1117 122 2400
Slope Gradient (%)
33 0 244

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

192 0 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 0 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
# of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class

All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in

AT(21), BG(127), BWBS(5), CDF(3), CWH(1), ESSF(182), ICH(53), IDF(855), IMA(1), MS(213), PP(154), SBPS(10), SBS(57)

Habitat and Range

Dry to mesic rocky bluffs, grassy slopes, meadows and open forests in the lowland and steppe to subalpine zones; common in BC south of 56degreeN; E to ON and S to NY, NC, GA, MS, TX, WY, UT, ID and OR.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia