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Allium (cernuum)

Tara Luna
USDI NPS - Glacier National Park
West Glacier, Montana 59936
(406) 888-7835

Family Scientific Name: Liliaceae
Family Common Name: Lily family
Scientific Name: Allium cernuum Roth
Common Name: Nodding wild onion
Species Code: ALLCER
Ecotype: Festuca grassland, near Lee Creek, Glacier National Park, Glacier Co., MT., 1500m elevation.
General Distribution: A. cernuum occurs in meadows or open forests that are moist in the spring; from the prairie foothills to the subalpine zone; from Alaska across Canada, south to Oregon, and also south to Mexico through the Rocky Mountains and the Intermountain West.
Propagation Goal: plants
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Container (plug)
Stock Type: 160 ml conetainers
Time To Grow: 9 Months
Target Specifications: Stock Type: Container seedling<br> Height: 6 to 10 true leaves; 8 to 10 cm.<br> Caliper: n/a<br> Root System: firm plug with developed bulb in conetainer.
Propagule Collection: Hand collect mature capsules in late August when they begin to split and turn light tan in color. Seeds are black at maturity.
Propagule Processing: Seed longevity is unknown.
Seed dormancy is classified as physiological dormancy.
Seeds/Kg: 2,600,00/kg
% Purity: 100%
% Germination: N/A
Pre-Planting Treatments: 5 month outdoor stratification of fresh seeds. Seeds are covered with medium. Germination characteristics of this species are reported to vary according to freshseed or seed dry stored for six months. Seed has also been reported to germinate equally well in light or dark.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Outdoor nursery growing facility.
Growing medium used is 6:1:1 milled spaghnum peat,perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S, 0.1%B, 0.5%Cu, 12%Fe, 2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo, 1%Zn) at the rate of 1 gram of Osmocote and 0.20 gram of Micromax per 172 ml conetainer.
Conetainers are filled and sown in late fall and irrigated thoroughly prior to winter stratification. Seedlings germinate in spring under fluctuating outdoor temperatures and are grown under full sun exposure. Seedlings are irrigated with Rainbird automatic irrigation system in early morning until containers are thoroughly leached. Average growing season of nursery is from late April after snowmelt until October 15th.
Establishment Phase: Germination occurs in mid May with seeds stratified outdoors. Germination is usually complete in 4 weeks.
Length of Establishment Phase: 4 weeks
Active Growth Phase: Root and shoot development occur rapidly following germination. Plants were fertilized with 13-13-13 fertilizer occasionally during the growing season. Bulbs are well developed 12 weeks after germination.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 12 weeks
Hardening Phase: Plants are fertilized with 10-20-20 liquid NPK at 200 ppm during August and September. Irrigation is gradually reduced in September and October. Plants were given one final irrigation prior to winterization.
Length of Hardening Phase: 4 weeks
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: Total Time to Harvest: 9 months
Harvest Date: September
Storage Conditions:
Overwinter in outdoor nursery under insulating foam cover and snow.
Storage Duration: October to April.
Length of Storage: 5 months
Other Comments: Bulb species propagated from seedsshould be directly seeded and grown in raised well, aerated beds and harvested and outplanted as dormant bulbs in early spring or fall of the second year. This species does not form a root tight plug in a container.
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, Hitchcock and Cronquist, 7th edition, University of Washington Press, 1973.
Seeding Rate Statistics for Native and Introduced Species, Hassell, Wendel, U.S.D.I. and U.S.D.A., April 1996.
Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, Baskin and Baskin, Academic Press, 1998.
Seed Germination Theory and Practice, Deno, Norman, Penn. State University, 1993.
Glacier National Park Native Plant Nursery Propagation Records, unpublished.


Luna, Tara; Evans, Jeff; Wick, Dale. 2008. Propagation protocol for production of Container (plug) Allium cernuum Roth plants 160 ml conetainers; USDI NPS - Glacier National Park West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/09/19). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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