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Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Nodding Onion
Allium cernuum

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20]. The juice can be applied to exposed skin in order to repel biting insects[257].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant has mild medicinal activity similar to the action of garlic (Allium sativum)[222]. It is used specifically as a poultice on the chest for the treatment of respiratory ailments and the juice has been used in the treatment of kidney stones[222].

    The juice of the plant is used in treating colds, croup, sore throats etc[257].

    A poultice of the plant is applied externally to various infections such as sore throats, sores, swellings, chest and pleurisy pains[257].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked[2, 22, 161]. Strongly flavoured[46, 61, 159], it is mainly used as a flavouring[183, K]. The bulb is about 50mm tall and 15mm wide[235].

    Leaves – raw or cooked[62, 85, 159]. A delicious, strong-onion flavour, they are very nice in salads[K]. The leaves are available from spring until the autumn and are one of the most favourite onions we are growing on our Cornish trial grounds[K].

    Flowers – raw or cooked. A delicious strong onion flavour, somewhat stronger than the leaves especially if the seeds are starting to set[K]. They make a very decorative and tasty addition to the salad bowl[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. Succeeds in clay soils[203]. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant[190]. Plants succeed in maritime gardens[233]. A very ornamental plant, it makes a very decorative edging to flower beds[K]. This species is self-sowing quite freely in our Cornwall garden[K]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[203], though this species has tolerated considerable neglect in our Cornwall garden[K]. The cultivar ‘Major’ is a more vigorous form with larger flower clusters[90]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. A widespread and very variable species[1]. It is closely allied to A. stellatum[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
N. America – Canada to Mexico.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.