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"Alli" is the classical Latin name for garlic and onion plants.
See also white Allium.

Allium acuminatum (Taper-tip Onion)
Amaryllidaceae.  Synonyms: Liliaceae, Alliaceae. (Amaryllis Family)

Foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, June 5, 2005.

Allium acuminatum is common in the Pinyon-Juniper forests of Mesa Verde and similar environments in the Four Corners.  Its bright magenta flowers are very conspicuous at the end of thin, leafless stalks, especially when the plant grows, as it often does, in masses of thousands. 

The long, narrow basal leaves typical of Onions can be seen dried in the lower part of the picture at left.  Many wild animals eat the bulbs and the onion-flavored leaves of this and other Alliums.

"Acuminate" is Latin for "pointed" and refers to the tapering point of each petal.

Click to see extensive patches of Allium acuminatum 

Allium acuminatum
Allium acuminatum (Taper-tip Onion)
Amaryllidaceae.  Synonyms: Liliaceae, Alliaceae. (Amaryllis Family)

Foothills. Woodlands, openings. Spring, summer.
Prater Ridge Trail, Mesa Verde National Park, June 5, 2005.

Allium cernuum  (Nodding Onion) 
Amaryllidaceae.  Synonyms: Liliaceae, Alliaceae. (Amaryllis Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, August 15, 2008.

This Onion grows throughout the Rocky Mountain West.  It is easily distinguished from other species by its nodding flowers (see next photo), and this characteristic gives rise to its specific epithet, "cernuum", which means "nodding".

Roth named this species in 1798 from a specimen collected by an unknown botanist.

Allium cernuum  (Nodding Onion) 
Amaryllidaceae.  Synonyms: Liliaceae, Alliaceae. (Amaryllis Family)

Montane, subalpine. Meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, August 4, 2008.

Notice the nod at the top of the peduncle (the main flower stem) as well as the slightly less pronounced nod of each pedicel (the individual flower stem).

Allium geyeri
Allium geyeri  (Geyer's Onion) 
Amaryllidaceae.  Synonyms: Liliaceae, Alliaceae. (Amaryllis Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine. Meadows. Summer.
Upper Calico Trail, June 26, 2015.

This very common onion occurs from the high foothills to timberline in moist (or just previously moist) meadows. Allium geyeri most often occurs in small patches but in moist meadows it is common to find hundreds of plants.

Charles A. Geyer came to the U.S. in 1834 and botanized extensively from Missouri to Vancouver until his return to Europe in 1844. (More biographical information about Geyer.)

Click for more photographs of Allium geyeri.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Allium acuminatum  

Range map for Allium cernuum

Range map for Allium geyeri