Nodding Wild Onion

Authentic Wisconsin.  Nodding Wild Onion - Allium cernuum


Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin (8/02/21).


Nodding Wild Onion - Allium cernuum  

Nodding Wild Onion is a native plant that grows in full sun in areas with dry to moderate moisture such as prairies and hillsides. Nodding Wild Onion grows 8-18” tall.

Flowers are about 1/4" across and are white, light pink to lavender in color. Each mature bulb bears a single flowering stem with up to 30 flowers. They are 6-parted (3 petals and 3 sepals all similar) with 6 white stamens with yellow tips. After the flowers fade, a seed head remains.

Nodding Wild Onion closely resembles the Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum). The bent flowering stalk is supposed to be a key difference; however, flowers of both species may initially nod. The flowers Allium cernuum of are are mostly bell-shaped; whereas, the flowers Allium stellatum are slightly more open and star-shaped (flaring outward).

Cernuum means "heads down" and Stellatum means "starred."

The "nodding" of the the Nodding Wild Onion tends to restrict insect visitors to bees as other insects are more reluctant to hang upside down while attempting to feed on nectar or pollen.

Blooms July - August.

Other names: Nodding Onion.

Nodding Wild Onion leaves on shore of Vilas Lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion grass-like leaves on shore of Vilas Lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin (7/29/21).


For more information on the Nodding Wild Onion, visit Wikipedia.

Or, visit the UW-Madison Wisconsin State Herbarium website page about Nodding Wild Onion - Allium cernuum.

Or, visit the Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension's website page about Nodding Wild Onion - Allium cernuum.


Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along Woodrow Street in Madison, Wisconsin on August 1, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion or Prairie Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.
Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.

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Wisconsin Wildflowers


Nodding Wild Onion
Allium cernuum


Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 27, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin (727/21).


Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion along shoreline of Vilas lagoon in Madison, Wisconsin (7/29/21).


Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 29 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin (7/29/21).


Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion leaves in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion in Marion Dunn Prairie in Madison, Wisconsin (7/31/21).


Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin on July 31, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion on bike path behind Gregory Street by Odana Road in Madison, Wisconsin (7/31/21).


Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.

Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin on August 2, 2021.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion in UW Arboretum's Native Garden in Madison, Wisconsin (7/31/21).


Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) botanical illustration by Pierre Joseph Redouté circa 1811.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) botanical illustration by Pierre Joseph Redouté circa 1811.


Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) botanical drawing circa 1913.


Above: Nodding Wild Onion (Allium cernuum) botanical circa 1913.


Cultivated Allium (Allium Tanguticum) along Arbor Drive by Temple Beth El stone wall on July 30, 2021.

Cultivated Allium (Allium Tanguticum) along Arbor Drive by Temple Beth El stone wall on July 30, 2021.

Cultivated Allium (Allium Tanguticum) along Arbor Drive by Temple Beth El stone wall on July 30, 2021.


Above: Cultivated Allium (Summer Beauty) along Arbor Drive by Temple Beth El stone wall on July 30, 2021.


Allium stellatum botanical illustration by M.E. Eaton circa 1937-1938.


Above: Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum) botanical illustration by M.E. Eaton circa 1937-1938.


Prairie Onionn (Allium stellatum) botanical drawing circa 1913.


Above: Prairie Onion (Allium stellatum) botanical circa 1913.



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