Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Allium canadense var. hyacinthoides

with 6 comments

Allium canadense var. hyacinthoides Flowers 1969

Click for greater clarity and size.

A couple of times in these pages I’ve showed you pictures of the wild onion that botanists classify as Allium canadense. It so happens that both of those specimens were of the canadense variety. Now for the first time here’s a look at the other variety that occurs in Texas, Allium canadense var. hyacinthoides, meaning ‘looking like a hyacinth.’ Notice (especially if you click to enlarge) the tiny insect on the leftmost of the three floral “fireworks.”

Like the other pictures over the last week, this one is from an April 27th field trip to Bastrop State Park led by botanist Bill Carr.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 16, 2014 at 5:54 AM

6 Responses

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  1. I see it. How many small flowers do you estimate per plant?

    Jim in IA

    June 16, 2014 at 6:26 AM

    • As inclined to segue into math as I am, in this case I don’t know. If I proposed a number, it would be based on counting the little flowers on each of the three globes in the photograph, and I don’t know how typical they are.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM

  2. Lovely~ Alliums never fail to lift my spirits. Not long ago I learned that Chicago takes its name for the native word for Allium cernuum, which translates roughly to “stinking onion”. Haha! That is a humbling commentary 🙂


    June 16, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    • We can swap out the aspera (difficulties) and say: Per Allia ad astra (through onions to the stars). Or we can say: Alliums for all and all for Alliums. All of which goes to show my agreement with you that onions have pretty flowers.

      When I was doing research a few years ago I came across statements that the name Chicago comes from an Indian word connected to things with a strong smell. That may be right, but there probably weren’t any real linguists among the early Europeans and Americans who explored or settled in that area, and unfortunately most of the Indian languages haven’t survived.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

  3. It must have been a real treat to find these in the wild, Steve. The only alliums I ever see are in our garden and are shaped like a big purple ball. Nice of that little photobomber to put in a cameo.

    Steve Gingold

    June 16, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    • Actually wild garlic (Allium drummondii) and wild onions are common in the Austin area, so I’m used to seeing their flowers for a couple of months every spring when I’m out in nature. I mostly encounter the other variety of Allium canadense than the one shown here, so this was welcome change. For me, then, the reverse is true of what you say holds for you: for me it’s the cultivated onions that are strange and that I know little about.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 16, 2014 at 3:45 PM

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