Herb: Prairie Onion

Latin name: Allium stellatum

Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)

Medicinal use of Prairie Onion:

A sweetened decoction of the root has been taken, mainly by children, as a remedy for colds. Although no other specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Description of the plant:


75 cm
(2 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Rocky prairies, slopes, shores and ridges. Usually found on limestone soils.

Edible parts of Prairie Onion:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulbs are eaten by the N. American Indians. They are rather small, about 4cm tall and 15mm wide. Leaves - raw or cooked. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Other uses of the herb:

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Propagation of Prairie Onion:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle - if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rocky prairies, slopes, shores and ridges. Usually found on limestone soils.

Known hazards of Allium stellatum:

Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.