Perennial herb with one to five or more bulbs flowering stem 20 cm - 0.7 m tall Leaves: three to six, arising at ground level, basally sheathing, 15 - 35 cm long, 1 - 5 mm wide, flat, keeled, grass-like, stiff. Inflorescence: a dome-shaped, nodding umbel (becoming upright) of nine to forty flowers raised on a single stalk and subtended by two persistent bracts. Flowers: on 1 - 2 cm long stalks, pink, 4 - 8 mm long, star-shaped, with six spreading tepals that wither in fruit. Stamens six, exserted. Anthers yellow. Fruit: a short, rounded, three-lobed capsule. Bulbs: usually clustered, up to 4 cm tall, egg-shaped, and encased in a brownish or grayish membranous coating. Bulbs with a strong onion odor.
Similar species: Allium cernuum is similar but has soft leaves and a nodding, not upright, umbel during full flower. However, since the umbel can sometimes be upright, it is a good idea to compare bulb and flower shape as well.
Flowering: July to September
Habitat and ecology: Rare in the Chicago Region. Has been found on a fine hill prairie and a railroad embankment.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Allium comes from the Latin word for garlic. Stellatum means star-like.
Bulb ovoid or ovoid-conic, 1.5-3 cm; stem 3-7 dm; lvs 3-6, arising together at the soil-surface, 1-2 mm wide, keeled; bracts 2, ovate or lanceolate, acuminate; pedicels slender, 1-2 cm; tep pink, ovate to oblong, 4-7 mm, obtuse or subacute; stamens equaling or surpassing the tep; filaments slightly widened below; fr 3-lobed, subglobose, shorter than the perianth, crested as in no. 4 [Allium cernuum Roth]; 2n=14. Prairies, barrens, and rocky hills; w. Ont. to Ill., w. to Sask., Wyo., and Okla. July-Sept.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.