Plant Image
Boulder, Utah

Yavapai County Native & Naturalized Plants

Allium macropetalum - largeflower onion

Other Common Names: desert onion, Arizona onion
Plant Form: Forb or Subshrub

Family: Liliaceae

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Plant - summer
Boulder, Utah
Max Licher @
Forb Plant Description

Origin: Native   Life Cycle: Perennial   Similar Species: Allium reticulatum var. deserticola
General Desc: Grass-like leaves give rise to waxy, star-shaped white-pink flowers in rounded clusters at the top of a separate stem. The plant has an onion smell.
Identification notes: Leaves usually 2 per stem. Outer bulb scales persisting as a network of coarse, intertwining fibers. Plants without basal bulbels. Flowers of 6 white-pink tepals (sepals and petals) with deeper pink or reddish mid-veins. Flower bracts 3 to 5 veined.
Height: To 8 inches


Habitat Description: Desert flats and rocky foothills.
Plant Communities: Desert Scrub, Interior Chaparral, Semidesert Grasslands, Pinyon Juniper Woodland
Elevation: 1000 - 7000 feet

Flower Characteristics

Color: White-pink     Shape: Regular in round clusters     Tubular: N     Flowering Period: Mar - Jun
Description: Waxy, star-like flowers have 6 tepals, each with a reddish midvein. Erect rounded flower clusters of 10 to 20 flowers.

Leaf and Stem Characteristics

Leaf Color: Green     Leaf Type: Simple     Leaf Shape: Narrow     Leaf Margin: Smooth     Leaf Attachment: Basal     Leaves Clasp: N
Hairs: No     Spines: N
Leaf Description: Leaves are grass-like to 4 inches long, persistent, green at flowering, usually 2 per bulb and longer than the flower stem.

Fruit and Seed Characteristics

Fruit Color: Tan   
Fruit Type: Capsule
Fruit Notes: The fruit is a tan capsule with two black seeds in each cell.
Seed Notes: The seed coat is black.

  Arizona Cooperative Extension
Yavapai County
840 Rodeo Dr #C
Prescott, AZ 86305
(928) 445-6590
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Last Updated: Nov 21, 2021
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