Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Red Skinned Onion

Common Sunflower

Red Skinned Onion

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Red Skinned Onion
Scientific Name:Allium haematochiton
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:clumps up to a foot and a half high
Habitat:hillsides near water
Blooms:March to May

Red-skinned onion blooms from March to May and has an oniony odor. Its whitish pink flowers appear in clusters at the ends of foot-long or more stems.

A general characteristic of plants in the lily family is their growing from bulbs, rhizomes or corms. Red-skinned onion's flat and narrow leaves and stems emerge from clusters of 1 inch oblong bulbs with reddish-purple outer layers. The flower clusters form at the ends of 1/2 inch stems, from 10-30 flowers compacted at their heads. Each flower has 3 petals, 3 sepals which look like petals, 6 stamens and 1 pistil. The flowers are white to pink in color.

The genus name Allium is Latin for "garlic". The species name haematochiton translates as "blood coat", referring to the red skin of the bulb.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Other Similar Plants:
Mariposa Lily Calochortus species
Chocolate Lily Fritillaria biflora
Humboldt Lily Lilium humboldtii
Golden Star Bloomeria crocea
Globe Lily Calochortus albus

Originally featured: October 2013
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:41:11.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves