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Broadstemmed onion

Scientific Name:
Allium platycaule
Native Name(s):
  1. Northern Paiute: pani'si (Kelly 1932)


Allium platycaule is an herb that produces a 2 to 3 cmdiameter, ovoid bulb. The stem grows up to 25 cm tall, with linear leaves that are broad, long, and flat. The umbel has 30 to 90 flowers that are bright pink to rose colored. Anthers are yellow, and the pollen is grey. The plants are often clustered together, forming large showy patches in open areas. This species blooms from May to June.

Identification Tips

Allium platycaule is distinguished from other species of Allium sp. by its long, broad leaves and narrow, threadlike sepals.

Starch granules

This species is starch deficient. No starch granules have been observed from bulbs of this plant.


Allium platycaule grows from 1500 to 2500 m in elevation along rocky and sandy slopes.


This species grows in California, Nevada, and Oregon.

The bulbs of Allium platycaule are gathered in the spring and can be eaten raw or roasted and are typically consumed fresh. 
As food
Northern Paiute: "Badi'si (A. bisceptrum Wats.) and pani'si (A. platycaule Wats.) were treated the same as gü'ka' but their bulbs were more highly regarded." (Kelly 1932:102) 
Northern Paiute: "Joshua stated that the digging stick was not required in gathering wild onions; 'they just pulled them up with the hands.'  He said that such bulbs were cooked in small quantities by being placed between two heated rock slabs until soft.  According to him, "They were all fresh.  They never made your belly ache, your tooth ache, or your head ache; no, nothing.  They all ate them." My notes do not mention drying the brodiaea or any of the wild onions, and in view of Chamberlin's observation, its seems likely that they were not so treated." (Kelly 1932:102) 
Distribution Map: