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Allium cernuum - Roth.                
                 
Common Name Nodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion
Family Alliaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Ledges, gravels, rocky or wooded slopes and crests ascending to high altitudes[43]. Widely distributed on moist soils in mountainous and cool regions to 3500 metres[270].
Range N. America - Canada to Mexico.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium cernuum is a BULB growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Feb It is in flower from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 5-9


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

Allium cernuum Nodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium cernuum Nodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked[2, 22, 161]. Strongly flavoured[46, 61, 159], it is mainly used as a flavouring[183, K]. The bulb is about 50mm tall and 15mm wide[235]. Leaves - raw or cooked[62, 85, 159]. A delicious, strong-onion flavour, they are very nice in salads[K]. The leaves are available from spring until the autumn and are one of the most favourite onions we are growing on our Cornish trial grounds[K]. Flowers - raw or cooked. A delicious strong onion flavour, somewhat stronger than the leaves especially if the seeds are starting to set[K]. They make a very decorative and tasty addition to the salad bowl[K].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Lithontripic;  Poultice.

The whole plant has mild medicinal activity similar to the action of garlic (Allium sativum)[222]. It is used specifically as a poultice on the chest for the treatment of respiratory ailments and the juice has been used in the treatment of kidney stones[222]. The juice of the plant is used in treating colds, croup, sore throats etc[257]. A poultice of the plant is applied externally to various infections such as sore throats, sores, swellings, chest and pleurisy pains[257].
Other Uses
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20]. The juice can be applied to exposed skin in order to repel biting insects[257].
Cultivation details                                         
An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. Succeeds in clay soils[203]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[190]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[233]. A very ornamental plant, it makes a very decorative edging to flower beds[K]. This species is self-sowing quite freely in our Cornwall garden[K]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[203], though this species has tolerated considerable neglect in our Cornwall garden[K]. The cultivar 'Major' is a more vigorous form with larger flower clusters[90]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. A widespread and very variable species[1]. It is closely allied to A. stellatum[1, 270]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle - if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Roth.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
43200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[22]Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods.
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
[43]Fernald. M. L. Gray's Manual of Botany.
A bit dated but good and concise flora of the eastern part of N. America.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[54]Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[62]Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Very readable.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[90]Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs
Superbly illustrated, it gives brief details on cultivation and native habitat.
[159]McPherson. A. and S. Wild Food Plants of Indiana.
A nice pocket guide to this region of America.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[190]Chatto. B. The Dry Garden.
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[203]Davies. D. Alliums. The Ornamental Onions.
Covers about 200 species of Alliums. A very short section on their uses, good details of their cultivation needs.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[235]Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada
Reprint of a 1913 Flora, but still a very useful book.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
[270] Flora of N. America
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

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