Geyer's Onion
Allium geyeri
S. Watson

Collected on the east bank of the Clearwater River northwest of Kamiah in Idaho Co., Idaho, on 30 May 1806

Slender perennial herb with oval bulbs, smelling strongly of onions. The flowers are usually deep pink, bell-shaped, 6 tepaled, and clustered at the tips of slender leafless stalk.  It is in flower from April to May.  It is hardy to higher elevations and is not frost tender. The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil. Found in low meadows and by streams in the Rocky Mountain area.

Food Uses
Bulbs are used raw or cooked. Used mainly as an onion-flavoring in soups etc, though they were also occasionally eaten raw. The bulbs are eaten by the Navajo Indians. The bulbs are 15 - 25mm in diameter. Leaves may be used in salads or as garnish, raw or cooked Raw flowers are used as a garnish on salads. (Source)

The tender young leaves have been used raw in sandwiches and salads or cooked with the bulbs. Of the onions were steamed with camas bulbs.  The sweet cooked bulbs were usually eaten immediately, but they could also be dried, singly or in cakes, for future use. 

Medicinal Uses
The onion is reported to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and anti-fungal qualities and they have been used for many years in the treatment of cuts, burns, insect bits, and stings.  The bulbs have traditionally been used to relieve indigestion, gas, and vomiting.  They were also dried and ground to use as snuff for opening sinuses.

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. 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 of the plants in summer as they die down. The divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions if required. (PFAF)

Return to Alphebetical Listing