Allium rhizomatum

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New Mexico Onion - Allium rhizomatum
Continental Divide Trail
East of Poverty Flat, Black Range, New Mexico, USA
August 16, 2016

On the 16th of August 2016, we were at the Continental Divide Trail, east of Poverty Flat, on the north end of the Black Range, New Mexico.  At that location we found several Allium rhizomatum, New Mexico Onion.  This would be an easy plant to miss, the leaves are thin and “onion-like” and the flower is small - but very beautiful.

This is a truly “New Mexico” species.  The BONAP map to the right shows the range of this species within the United States.  The light green color indicates that the species is native to, and not rare within, the county indicated.   Yellow indicates that the species is rare within the county indicated and the red indicates that the species is extirpated in the county.  It is also found in northern Mexico although the range is confused because some authorities include this species within Allium glandulosum

Allium rhizomatum was first described by Elmer Ottis Wooton & Paul Carpenter Standley in 1913.  Their description, from “Contributions From The National Herbarium” page 114 (Part 4 - February 12, 1913) follows:

As sometimes happens, a specimen is collected in the field and only identified to species (or correctly described/redescribed) much later.  In this case, the specimen below was collected on August 22, 1846 in Chihuahua by Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus.  It is possible to identify, with some precision, the location from which this specimen was collected because of the following entry from page 46 in Memoir of a Tour of Northern Mexico Connected With Col. Doniphan's Expedition in 1846 and 1847 - Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus (large file - 25.8 MB):

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© Robert Barnes 2018