Glassy Onion (Hyalinum)

The Glassy Onion (Hyalinum) is generally described as a perennial forb/herb. This is native to the U.S. (United States) .

Uses of : Landscaping, Medicinal, Culinary, etc.

Ethnobotanic: The young foliage of Allium species is delicious and can be used in the place of chives. This onion was a food of the Tabatulabal and probably many other tribes as well. Sometimes the bulb was eaten raw. Today, individuals of many tribes still gather different species of wild onions.

General Characteristics

General: Lily Family (Liliaceae). This herbaceous perennial plant has herbage with the characteristic taste and smell of onions. The scape is 15-45 cm high and the leaves are 2-3 and linear. Reproduction is from wrinkled, black seeds contained in a capsule or by ovoid to spherical bulbs. The bulb-coats are brown or gray, thin, with horizontal undulate reticulation in vertical rows. Five to 25 pale pink to white flowers are in an umbel subtended by 2 or 3 thin whitish or scarious bracts.

Required Growing Conditions

For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site. This plant is found from 50 to 1500 m in moist areas in grassy slopes and mosses on rocks in the Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley.

Cultivation and Care

Dig up the bulbs of plants that are in bloom or seed or purchase the bulbs and plant them in the ground in autumn. The bulbs should be planted 1 to 3 inches deep in a well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Allium species do especially well in raised beds for drainage. Water them after planting and then let the rains come. Weed around the plants. Most animals don’t eat wild onions. This species of wild onion can be invasive.

If establishing the plant by seed, plant the seeds in the fall in pots in partial shade. Scatter the seeds on top of a well-drained soil. Sprinkle a thin layer of dirt over the top and place quarter-inch gravel over the soil. Water the pots and keep them slightly moist. Stop watering when the leaves shrivel in the early summer. Plant the plants out in the garden or wildlands after two years in the summer or fall. Let the rains do the watering.

General Upkeep and Control

Separate the plants every several years and replant. ALIN2"Thin-leaf alder often occurs in dense thickets, which reportedly results from underground rhizomes or suckers (Dayton 1931). If plants are damaged, sprouting can occur from the stump, root collar, or from the root crown following fire. After top-removal of plants by beavers, they have been observed to sprout heavily from the cut. Propagation from cuttings is not recommended and plants are not widely available in nurseries. "

Plant Basics
General Type Forb/herb
Growth Duration Perennial
Plant Nativity Native to U.S.

Source: USDA, NRCS, PLANTS Database,
National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA