[The Onions of the Columbia River Gorge]

Tapertip Onion, Taper-tip Onion, Hooker's Onion

Allium acuminatum

Synonyms: Allium acuminatum var. acuminatum, Allium acuminatum var. cuspidatum, Allium cuspidatum

Flower of Tapertip Onion, Taper-tip Onion, Hooker's Onion: Allium acuminatum (Synonyms: Allium acuminatum var. acuminatum, Allium acuminatum var. cuspidatum, Allium cuspidatum)

The photo at right shows a close-up side view of the flower of taper-tip onion. Note the darker midvein on each tepal as seen in this photo as well as the one below. Photographed on the southeastern slopes of Mt. Adams.................early June, 2005.

Frontal view of the tepals of Tapertip Onion, Taper-tip Onion, Hooker's Onion: Allium acuminatum (Synonyms: Allium acuminatum var. acuminatum, Allium acuminatum var. cuspidatum, Allium cuspidatum)The photo at right shows a close-up frontal view of the flower of taper-tip onion. Note that the inner trio of tepals is different from the outer trio in that their margins are wavy or crinkled. Photographed on the southeastern slopes of Mt. Adams.................early June, 2005.
Characteristics:

Taper-tip or Hooker's onion is a spectacularly colored onion with a single stem rising to 30 cm from subspherical, clustered bulbs. The leaves are two or more, linear in shape, 1 to 3 mm wide and shorter than the scape. They commonly wither or fall off before flowering occurs. The leafless scape ranges from 10-30 cm high and is round in cross-section.

The inflorescence is an umbel of 8-30 flowers. The umbel is subtended by 2-3 ovate bracts which are short acuminate and 5-7 nerved (the largely parallel lines within the bract). The six tepals are 8 to 17 mm long, narrowly lanceolate, with the pointed tips flared strongly outwards. Flower color is pink, rose-purple, or occasionally white.

This is the most common and widespread of our Pacific Northwest onions. It is commonly found in thick drifts, and may paint whole hillsides pink when in bloom.


Habitat:

Hooker's onion is found on dry hills and plains, often in fairly rocky habitats.


Range:

Hooker's onion is common from the crest of the Cascade Mts. eastward to Wyoming and Colorado, and southward into northern Nevada and California. It is also found in southwest Washington, the San Juan Islands, and on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 100'-4200' throughout much of the length of the Gorge.


Tapertip Onion, Taper-tip Onion, Hooker's Onion: Allium acuminatum (Synonyms: Allium acuminatum var. acuminatum, Allium acuminatum var. cuspidatum, Allium cuspidatum)


Paul Slichter