Plant of the Month – Allium Coryi

Note: As time allows, I will do a “Plant of the Month” feature on this blog.  Expect most plants to be photographed and described as seen in Texas.  Other possible locations will be New Mexico and Oklahoma.  Even then, other locales aren’t ruled out in the event of travel.

Yellow-flowered Onion (Allium Coryi), a wild onion species endemic to the mountains of the Trans-Pecos region of Far West Texas, is the only known yellow-flowered Allium species in the United States.  Its habitat is rocky slopes of mountains and rocky plains in between valleys at elevations of 2,500′ to 4,500′.  Yellow-flowered Onion begins flowering in April and lasts through early to mid-May.

Some common associates found growing with Yellow-flowered Onion are Awnless Bush Sunflower (Simsia calva), Fleabane (Erigeron spp.), Flax (Linum spp.), Thistle (Cirsum spp.), Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.), Honey and Velvet Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa, P. velutina), Threeawn (Aristida spp.), Plantain (Plantago spp.), Texas Skeletonweed (Lygodesmia spp.), White Rock Lettuce (Pinaropappus roseus), Zinnia (Zinnia spp.), Paperflower (Psilostrophe spp.), Blue and Black Grama (Bouteloua gracilis, B. eriopoda), Silver and Cane Bluestem (Bothriochloa saccharoides, B. barbinodis), Lovegrass (Eragrostis spp.), Bristlegrass (Setaria spp.), Arizona Cottontop (Digitaria cognata), and Hairy Tridens (Erioneuron pilosum).

The specific epithet “Coryi” honors Victor Louis Cory, an Iowa-born botanist who made many contributions to the field of botany in Texas while employed at Southern Methodist University.  The type specimen was discovered in the vicinity of Alpine, TX and now resides at the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium.  The plant’s descriptions were placed into literature by Marcus E. Jones, in Contributions to Western Botany (17:21).  His entry can be read here.

Much about the life and times of Marcus E. Jones can be read here.

Allium Coryi inflorescence.
Allium Coryi habitat in rocky slopes at the upper altitude limit for this species. The soils at this site are an extremely gravelly loam with scattered rock outrcrops.  These mountains are of volcanic origins. The vegetation type shown is classified as “mixed prairie” and this vegetation type can be found at elevations of 4,500 – 6,500′.
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