[Onions: The Genus Allium East of the Cascade Mts. of Oregon and Washington]

Tolmie's Onion

Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei

Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

The photo above shows Tolmie's onion as seen from basalt outcrops along OR highway 219 east of Clarno, OR.........April 19, 2007.

Scape and inflorescence of Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)Photo at right of Allium tolmiei found northwest of Enterprise, OR.........5/30/99. Note the flattened, winged scape and the numerous nerves on the bracts below the umbel.
Characteristics:

Tolmie's onion is an attractive wild onion from the Pacific Northwest. It arises from oval bulbs which are often clustered. It has two leaves which are usually wide, thickened, and flat in cross-section. In addition, the leaves are strongly sickle-shaped. The leaves also persist through the bloom period.. Individual leaves are 1 to 10 mm wide, and usually up to twice as long as the flower stem.

The scape or flower stem ranges from 5 to 25 cm tall. It is usually strongly flattened and often winged (in cross-section, the stem is rounded or wide in the middle, then flares to two thinned edges). The 2 or 3 bracts below the umbel are ovate to lanceolate, tapering to a point, and 5- to 19- rayed. The inflorescence is an umbel, with several to many flowers (See photo above right.). Individual flowers are 6 to 12 mm long, with 6 pink, narrow tepals which taper to points. The stamens range from 1/2 to nearly as long as the tepals.
Former Varieties:

var. tolmiei-- The stamens are 1/2 to occasionally 4/5 the length to the tepals. The tepals are 6 to 10 mm long. The scape is 5 to 12 cm tall (measured from ground level). The bracts are 5 to 11- nerved. Found from southeastern Washington south to northeastern California, and eastward to western Idaho.

var. platyphyllum-- The stamens are 1/2 to occasionally 4/5 the length to the tepals. The scape is 10 to 25 cm long. The tepals are 8 to 12 mm long. The bracts are 11 to 19- nerved. Found in northern Union and Wallowa Counties, OR and in western Idaho County, Ida..

var. persimile-- The stamens are nearly as long as the tepals. The scape is 10 to 25 cm tall. Found in Adams County, Ida in the southern Seven Devils Mts.


Flowers of Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

The photo above shows a close-up of several flowers of Tolmie's onion as seen on basalt outcrops along OR highway 219 east of Clarno, OR..........April 19, 2007.

Habitat:

Tolmie's onion is found on dry, open ground, usually in rocky, gravelly, or clay soils.


Range:

Tolmie's onion is found from southeastern Washington south to northeastern California, and east to western Idaho.


Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion blooming (left) on Baldy Mountain, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness.......July 2, 2010. The photo at right shows Tolmie's onion in bloom along FS Road 2230 on Mt. Pisgah, Ochoco National Forest........June 13, 2015.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Close-up of the flower of Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion blooming atop rock outcrops along Trail #201 above Wildcat Basin, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness......July 1, 2010.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion blooming on talus slopes (left) at the Lawrence Memorial Grasslands several miles southwest of Shaniko, OR........May 15, 2010. The photo at right shows Tolmie's onion blooming on a scabland viewpoint overlooking Big Summit Prairie off FS Road 4230-920, Ochoco National Forest.........April 30, 2016.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion as seen left at a viewpoint along US Highway 26 several miles east of Prairie City, Oregon........June 3, 2011. The photo at right shows Tolmie's onion as seen in scablands between Forest Road 4040 and the North Fork Crooked River, Ochoco National Forest.........May 11, 2017.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tomie's onion as seen on a gravelly bald along the Canyon Mountain Trail #218, Strawberry Mountain Wilderness..........May 29, 2014.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion blooming along the Steens Mountain North Loop Road near a cattle guard and fence at the junction between the juniper forest and sagebrush steppe zones, Steens Mountain of southeastern Oregon...........June 2, 2012.

Close-ups of the flowers of Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Close-up of the flowers of Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Additional images of Tolmie's onion as seen beginning to bloom on rock outcrops around Jackman Park, Steens Mountain of southeastern Oregon.........June 2, 2012. The close-up of the inflorescence at upper right shows an individual with more slender tepals which is reminiscent of the old variety pleianthum.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion with slender-fruited desert parsley (Lomatium leptocarpum) and lance-leaved stoncrop (Sedum lanceolatum) as seen along the North Loop Road across from the entrance to Kiger Gorge, Steens Mountain.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

What appears to be tolmie's onion on rocky mudflats at Summit Prairie, Malheur National Forest..........May 28, 2014.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion as seen left near the summit of Round Mt., Ochoco National Forest.........May 30, 2016. The photo at right shows Tolmie's onion as seen near the junction of FS Road 42 and FS Rd 3010, Ochoco National Forest......... April 29, 2016.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

Tolmie's onion on rocky, vernally moist slopes uphill to the north from Pisgah Meadows, Ochoco National Forest.........June 13, 2015. This site is along the southern edge of the Bridge Creek Wilderness.

Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum) - Tolmie's Onion Allium tolmiei var. tolmiei (Synonyms: Allium cusickii, Allium pleianthum, Allium tolmiei var. platyphyllum)

The photo at left shows Allium tolmiei as seen from the Wallowa-Whitman N.F., northwest of Enterprise, OR..........May 30, 1999. The photo at right shows Tolmie's onion blooming on scablands near the old Cold Springs Guard Station east of Big Summit Prairie, Ochoco National Forest.......May 19, 2017.

Paul Slichter