Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Meadow Garlic - Allium canadense   L.
Members of Alliaceae:
Members of Allium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Alliaceae
DistributionPresent nearly statewide, but many holes in the range. Presumably occurs in all 100 counties, but it is likely that botanists/biologists over the years have simply not bothered to collect it.

This is a wide-ranging species of eastern North America, ranging from eastern Canada south in all Eastern states to central FL and most of TX.
AbundanceCommon in the Piedmont; fairly common to common in the Coastal Plain, though seemingly less numerous in the northeastern portions. Infrequent in the Mountains.
HabitatThis is a species that, even though native, is somewhat weedy, in that it is often seen in fields, pastures, and along roadsides. It favors moist sites, such as openings in bottomlands or in wet meadows; it prefers light shade, but it can be found in wet forest interiors and in full sun.
See also Habitat Account for General Wet Meadows
PhenologyBlooms from mid-April into June; fruits from late May into July.
IdentificationThis species is probably easily confused with, or overlooked as, the non-native and weedy Allium vineale. This onion sends up a flowering stalk to about 1-1.5 feet tall. The very lowest portion contains a number of flat and linear leaves, about 8 inches long but only 1/4-inch or less wide. The umbel at the top of the stem contains a moderate number of small white to pinkish star-shaped flowers, about 1/2-inch across, with a purple stripe down the middle of each tepal. Each flower is on a long pedicel up to 1 inch long, and the umbel is erect and not nodding like found in a few other Allium species. The exotic A. vineale has round leaves in cross-section, and these are also hollow at the base. There are a few other characters that separate these two species, but the leaf cross-section is easily checked. Though an individual flower is not un-attractive, the fact that few flowers are often in bloom at any single time means that one can easily walk past the species without bothering to stop. Occasionally, you can catch individuals with a dozen or more flowers in bloom together, and then the plant is indeed somewhat showy. See also A. mutabile.
Taxonomic CommentsA. mutabile has been split from canadense; see that species account.

Other Common Name(s)Wild Onion, Canada Onion, Canadian Garlic, Wild Garlic
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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USACE-empFACU link
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