Bulbs mostly 2-4(-5) × 1-1.5 cm. Leaf blade (1.5-)2-4(-4.5) cm wide, scarcely petiolate or less strongly so than in var. tricoccum, sheaths and petioles not anthocyanous. Scape (10-)13-16(-18) cm. Umbel (6-)12-18 (-24)-flowered; spathe bracts 1-2 cm. 2n = 16. Flowering early Jun. Dry soil in upland woods; 0--1800 m; Ont., Que.; Ala., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Mich., Minn., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Pa., S.Dak. Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Allium tricoccum var. burdickii is apparently rare in the eastern part of its range and in the Ozark Plateau region. With its overlapping characteristics and distribution, Allium tricoccum var. burdickii is doubtfully separate from var. tricoccum.
Perennial herb with two to six bulbs flowering stem 10 - 20 cm tall Leaves: two or three, basal, nearly stalkless, 19 - 22 cm long, 1 - 2 or more cm wide, flat, lance-shaped to elliptical, dying back before flowering time. Inflorescence: an upright, more or less dome-shaped umbel of six to twenty-five flowers raised on a single narrow stalk and subtended by two, 1 - 2 cm long deciduous bracts. Flowers: white to cream-colored, 4 - 7 mm long, bell-shaped, with six tepals that remain even in fruit. Fruit: a three-lobed capsule. Bulbs: up to 4 cm tall, somewhat oval, and encased in a brownish or gray netlike coating.
Similar species: The leaves of Allium tricoccum var. burdickii are gone by flowering time, which distinguishes this species from other Allium in the Chicago Region. Typical A. tricoccum differs by having longer leafstalks that are reddish and leaves that are wider.
Flowering: June to early July
Habitat and ecology: Common in woods.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Notes: The name for the city of Chicago is derived from the Native American Miami-Illinois word "chicagoua," which means "striped skunk" and was also used in reference to the smelly wild leek, Allium tricoccum. The Miami-Illinois commonly named rivers after conspicuous plants in a watershed. "Chicagoua" was their name for the Chicago River. This name was later adopted for the town located at the mouth of the river, Chicago, which was incorporated in 1833.
Etymology: Allium comes from the Latin word for garlic. Tricoccum is a combination of tri meaning three, and coccum meaning berry, which refers to the three-lobed fruit.
Smaller, the bulb mostly 1-1.5(-2) cm thick, the lvs (1.5-)2-4(-4.5) cm wide, less strongly or scarcely petiolate, the scape arising (10-)13-16(-18) cm, the bracts 1-2 cm, the fls (6-)10-18(-25), the fruiting pedicels 1-2 cm; not anthocyanic; widespread, but chiefly midwestern, extending e. to w. Me., N.J., and the mts. of N.C. and Tenn.; fl early, commonly June. (A. burdickii)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.