In late spring and early summer Hooker’s Onion, also known as Tapertip Onion, explodes into bright magenta blooms that look like delicate fireworks balancing on its narrow stem. All parts of the plant have a pungent onion odor and taste, making it edible in small doses and exceptionally attractive to pollinators while repelling garden pests. It is also unattractive to deer.
- Plant type/canopy layer: deciduous perennial herbaceous plant
- Size at maturity: 0-1' high, 0-1' wide
- Light requirements: full to mostly sunny
- Moisture requirements: dry soil
- Bloom time: May - July
- Growth rate/ease: moderate growth rate, easy to grow
- Wildlife support: nectar source for adult butterflies, bees and other insect pollinators, attracts beneficial and pest-eating insects and hummingbirds
- Native habitat/range: grows in open, usually rocky places throughout the OR, WA, northern CA and British Columbia, generally east of the coast range, below 6000 ft. Portland Plant List - yes.
- Special features & uses: bulbs, leaves and bulblets are edible, very potent and have been used by native people for thousands of years, but should only be consumed in small doses; drought tolerant; great is rock gardens, pollinator gardens and meadowscapes
Gardening with Hooker’s Onion: This wild allium is best suited for fully to mostly sunny dry hillsides and rocky meadows with great drainage. It is exceptionally drought tolerant and excellent for pollinator-friendly rock and xeric gardens. Bulblets reproduce easily and form dense clusters that can be divided either before or after they bloom. It also spreads slowly by seed over time.
Photo Credit 1 & 4: "Allium acuminatum" by Matt Lavin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo Credit 2 & 3: "Allium acuminatum" by aspidoscelis is marked with CC0 1.0