Nodding Onion in Bloom

The natural history treasure of the month is the nodding onion (allium cernuum). You can see its long grass-like leaves topped by nodding umbels of pink flowers currently in bloom in our ethnobotanical garden.

The herb is used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. When cooking, the strong smell and flavor is removed and bulbs become sweet. The leaves are edible (either raw or cooked) and have a strong onion flavour. They are tasty in salads. Many First Nations people use the onion medicinally. The plant is also a bug repellant: it deters moths and when the juice is rubbed on skin it repels mosquitos and other bugs.

This summer the NHC is adding signage in the garden and a native plant display inside the centre. Visitors can learn about each of the plants in our growing collection (and some that are not). Learn more about the ethnobotanical garden.

Bee on Nodding Onion

A bee on nodding onion at the Natural History Centre’s ethnobotanical garden. Photo by Sarat Colling.

 

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