Allium stellatum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: prairie onion 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Central North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to September
Bloom Description: Reddish-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Fragrant
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil, Black Walnut


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. Best in full sun, but appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot summer climates. Best in rocky or sandy soils. Plants will naturalize by self-seeding and bulb offsets in optimum growing conditions. Deadhead flowers before seed set to help control any unwanted spread. Foliage persists to the time of or slightly past flowering in summer before dying back. Plants are easily grown from seed which should be planted in spring or from bulbs/bulb offsets which should be planted in autumn.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Allium stellatum, commonly called prairie onion, is a Missouri native plant that occurs primarily in rocky soils on limestone glades and bluff ledges in the Ozark region of the State (Steyermark). It is also found on rocky prairies in parts of the Midwest and Great Plains. It is a bulbous perennial which typically grows 12-18" tall. Features clumps of flat, narrow, grass-like leaves (to 12" tall) and tiny, starry, bell-shaped, reddish-pink flowers which appear in rounded clusters (umbels) atop erect, leafless scapes rising slightly above the foliage. Blooms in mid to late summer. Leaves often die back by the time of flowering. Leaves and flower scapes rise directly from the bulbs. All parts of this plant have an oniony smell when cut or bruised. Although the bulbs and leaves of this plant were once used in cooking (stews) or eaten raw, this species of allium is not generally considered to be of culinary value today. Bulbs were also used by early Americans as cough/cold remedies and as insect repellants. Nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum) is similar to this plant in size, culture and general appearance, except, as the common name suggests, the flower umbel nods rather than stands erect.

Genus name comes from the classical Latin name for garlic.

Specific epithet means star-like in reference to the flower shape.


No serious insect or disease problems. Foliage dies back in late summer.


Rock gardens, meadows, native plant gardens, naturalized areas, cottage gardens or borders