Allium caesium Schrenk - Blue onion.

Taxonomic position.

Family Alliaceae J.Agardh, genus Allium L.


Allium urceolatum Regel

Morphology and biology.

Perennial. Geophyte. Bulbous. Bulb ovoid, 1-1.5 cm diameter, with grey scarious tunics. Substituting bulbils greyish-brownish or more often violet with obscure longitudinal veins. Scape 15-65 cm tall, up to 1/4-1/2 of its height covered with scabrous (less often smooth) leaf sheaths. Leaves 2-3, semicylindrical, channelled, hollow, 1-3 mm wide, slightly longer or shorter than scape. Spathe persistent, acuminate, 2 shorter than umbel. Umbel semispherical or spherical, many-flowered, dense. Between some flowers of the inflorescence there are small bulbils, specimens occur with inflorescences consisting of only bulbils or only flowers. Pedicels equal to each other, 2-3-(5) times as long as perianth, with bracts at the base. Tepals of campanulate perianth 4-6 mm long, blue with dark vein, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, obtuse or more often acutate. Filaments 1/4 shorter than tepals, at the base fused with each other and with perianth, outer ones subulate with triangular base, inner ones obtusely dentate, 2 times wider. Style slightly exserted from perianth. Autochore. Flowers in May - June, fruits in June - July.


Middle [Central] Asia (Kazakhstan, Dzungarian Alatau, Tien Shan, Pamiro-Alai).


Photophilous. In steppe and semi-desert zones, on solonetz (sodium-rich) soils, in foothills and middle montane zone.

Use and economic value.

Wild relative of cultivated onions.


Vvedensky AI. 1935. Onion . Allium L. In: Komarov VL., ed. Flora URSS. V.4. Moscow; Leningrad: AN SSSR. P.222-223. (In Russian).
Schreder RR., ed. 1941. Flora of Uzbekistan. V.1. Tashkent. P.446-447. (In Russian).

© I.G.Chukhina

© Photo by N.V.Friesen

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