Bulbs 2-10+, not rhizomatous, ovoid or more elongate, 1-2.5 × 0.8-2 cm; outer coats enclosing 1 or more bulbs, gray or brown, reticulate, cells rather coarse-meshed, open, fibrous; inner coats whitish, cells vertically elongate and regular or obscure. Leaves persistent, usually green at anthesis, usually 3-5, sheathing less than 1/4 scape; blade solid, ± straight, flat, channeled, (6-)12-30 cm × 1-3(-5) mm, margins entire or denticulate. Scape persistent, solitary, erect, terete or somewhat 2-angled, 10-50 cm × 1-3 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, compact, 10-25-flowered, hemispheric to globose, not producing bulbils, or 0-5-flowered, largely replaced by ovoid, acuminate bulbils; spathe bracts persistent, 2-3, mostly 1-veined, ovate to lanceolate, ± equal, apex acuminate, beakless. Flowers urceolate-campanulate, (4-)6-8(-10) mm; tepals erect or spreading, pink to white, ovate to lanceolate, ± equal, not withering in fruit and permanently investing fruit, or withering if fruit not produced, midribs papillose, becoming callous-keeled, margins often obscurely toothed, apex obtuse to acuminate; stamens included; anthers yellow; pollen yellow; ovary when present, inconspicuously crested; processes 6, central, low, distinct or connate in pairs across septa, ± erect, rounded, margins entire, becoming variously developed or obsolete in fruit; style linear, ± equaling stamens; stigma capitate, unlobed or obscurely lobed; pedicel becoming rigid and stiffly spreading in fruit, 8-13 mm. Seed coat shining; cells each with minute, central papilla.
FNA 2003, Martin and Hutchins 1980, Cronquist et al. 1977, Springer et al. 2009, Heil et al 2013
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Scapose perennial monocot emerging from clusters of 2-10 ovoid bulbs covered with course, fibrous, gray or brown outercoats. Leaves: Persistent, generally 3 or more leaves per bulb, 1-3 mm wide, and 12-30 cm long (shorter than the scape), solid (i.e. not hollow), the margins entire or denticulate. Flowers: Terminal, erect umbel with 10-25 flowers on a scape generally 15-50 cm tall; flowers with 6 whitish pink tepals, 6-8 mm long, ovate to acuminate; margins often obscurely toothed; perianth urceolate to campanulate. Fruits: Capsule with a low obscure crest; persistent dried tepals surround the capsule. Ecology: Found in meadows, along streams and generally on moist soils, from 5,000-10,000 ft (1524-3048 m), flowers May-September. Distribution: Found throughout the Rockies and Intermountain west in the US, the two varieties are -equally widespread but irregularly and independently distributed- according to Cronquist. Notes: Two varieties are present in the southwest: var. tenerum is distinguished by some of the flowers being replaced by ovoid bulbils on short petioles and the remaining flowers on much longer petioles. Var. geyeri is all flowers. Alliums are distinguished by their strong onion or garlic scent, 6-parted flowers, and underground bulbs. This species is distinguished by the pink flowers; course, fibrous coating on the bulb (A. cernuum and A. acuminatum have membranous coats, though other species also have fiberous coats); the erect umbel (nodding in A. cernuum); no rhizome attached to the bulb (A. gooddingii has rhizomes); 3 or more leaves per bulb (1 to 2 in A. nevadense and A. macropetalum); and leaves shorter than the scape (scape is shorter in A. macropetalum, A. nevadense). The genus Allium has previously been placed in Liliaceae and Alliaceae; currently it is considered part of Amaryllidaceae. Ethnobotany: Eaten or used in a wide variety of foods and for seasoning. Etymology: Allium is Latin for garlic, while geyeri is named for Charles A. Geyer, a German botanist. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2011, AHazelton 2015