Allium bigelovii

S. Watson

Botany (Fortieth Parallel), 487, plate 38, figs. 8, 9. 1871.

Treatment appears in FNA Volume 26. Treatment on page 259. Mentioned on page 231, 260.

Bulbs usually solitary, not clustered on stout primary rhizome, ± globose, 1–1.5 × 1.2–1.5 cm; outer coats enclosing single bulb, dark brown, prominently reticulate, membranous, cells irregularly arranged, vertically elongate, rectangular to ± contorted, without fibers; inner coats white, cells obscure, quadrate. Leaves persistent, green at anthesis, 2, basally sheathing, sheaths not extending much above soil surface; blade solid, subterete to channeled, 16–21 cm × 2–4 mm, margins entire. Scape persistent, solitary, erect, solid, terete, 5–12 cm × 1–4 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, loose to ± compact, 10–25-flowered, hemispheric, bulbils unknown; spathe bracts persistent, 2, 2–11-veined, lance-ovate to ovate, ± equal, apex acute to acuminate. Flowers campanulate, (8–)10–14 mm; tepals erect, pink to reddish at tip and along midvein, otherwise white, lanceolate, ± equal, becoming papery and ± rigid in fruit, margins entire, apex acute; stamens included; anthers purple; pollen yellow; ovary crested; processes 6, prominent, flat, triangular, margins entire to coarsely toothed; style linear, equaling stamens; stigma capitate, scarcely thickened, obscurely 3-lobed; pedicel 10–15 mm. Seed coat shining; cells smooth. 2n = 14.

Phenology: Flowering late Mar–May.
Habitat: Open, rocky, gravelly slopes
Elevation: 500–1700 m


Allium bigelovii is an anomalous species that does not appear to be closely related to any other from North America. With its prominent ovarian crests, a relationship with the group of species around A. fimbriatum, A. nevadense, and A. sanbornii is suggested. Allium bigelovii differs from this group, however, in having two leaves and a seed coat with smooth cells. In addition its bulb-coat reticulation is unlike that of any other North American species.

Selected References


Lower Taxa