Pink or Red Flowers
Lily Family (Liliaceae)
Season: April to Augusst
Habitat: Moist, open areas
Height: 20-60 cm
Description: This easy to identify plant has pink to purplish flowerheads and a round stem. It gives off a distinctive smell like chives and can be used in a similar fashion.
Flower: Wild chives are a unique lily that are tasty and easy to identify. The flowers form a dense terminal cluster of tiny, tubular pink to purple flowers. The flowers are made up of 6 lance-shaped petals (tepals) that spread slightly at the tip to form the bell. Look for two egg-shaped bracts at the base of the flower cluster.
Leaf: The stem rises from tiny bulbs to produce a typical onion-like stem. There are usually two leaves , with both occurring lower than the centre of the stem.The leaves are grass-like, cylindrical and form a sheath around the stem. They are very fragrant, giving off a strong onion smell.
Fruit/Seed: The seeds are borne within a three-lobed, egg-shaped capsule.
Similar Species: While there are no closely similar species, it can be very dangerous if you make the mistake of misidentifying meadow death-camas for wild chives. Meadow death-camas is very deadly, but has white flowers and lacks the onion-like smell of the wild chives.
Range: Wild chives can be found from Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories, east to Newfoundland and south to Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
When people talk about edible wild plants, they are usually focused on berries, nuts and these tasty onion substitutes. All parts of this plant are edible, including the bulbs, stems, leaves and flowerheads. They make a tasty flavouring for soups, salads and other foods.
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