Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
from the the May 31, 2009 Newsletter, issued from the Siskiyou Mountains west of Grants Pass, Oregon:
HARD TO BELIEVE IT'S AN....
Can you figure out what group of plants is represented above?
A view down into the flower's throat is shown below:
The first moment I saw this plant I knew it had to be special, for here it grows only in thin soil at serpentine outcrops and it's fairly uncommon. I'd never seen anything like it, yet something about it seemed familiar. So I did the botany: Flowers arranged in umbels atop a leafless stem; six stamens per flower; a leaf-like spathe arising below the umbel; plant arising from bulbs... When my brain digested these features awhile suddenly without thinking I reached out, pinched a leaf and smelled my fingertips: ONION!
It's one of several species of "flatstem onions," ALLIUM FALCIFOLIUM. Allium is the onion genus. The species is a "locally common broad endemic" found only in our Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon and northwestern California.