Common Name Nodding Onion
Origin N America
Light sun to part
Moisture dry to mesic
Edible greens, flowers, bulb
Nodding onion flowers late summer/ early autumn, and each mature bulb bears a single flowering stem, which terminates in a downward nodding umbel of white or rose flowers. It has grass-like leaves (2–4 mm wide). The flowers mature into spherical crested fruits which later split open to reveal the dark shiny seeds. This plant does not have bulblets. Grows in woods, rocky outcrops and prairies. It's native range is from New York to British Columbia south to Virginia and Kentucky and south in the mountains.
Bulb can be eaten raw or cooked. It has a strong flavor it is mainly used as a flavoring. The bulb is about 50mm tall and 15mm wide. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, same for the flowers. Nodding onion flowers have a delicious strong onion flavor, somewhat stronger than the leaves especially if the seeds are starting to set. A very decorative addition to the salad bowl.
The whole plant has mild medicinal activity similar to the action of garlic (Allium sativum). 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. The juice of the plant is used in treating colds, croup, sore throats, etc. A poultice of the plant is applied externally to various infections such as sore throats, sores, swellings, chest and pleurisy pains.
The juice can be used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. The juice can be applied to exposed skin in order to repel biting insects.