Bulbs 1-7+, commonly producing either cluster of stalked, basal bulbels or filiform rhizomes to 1 dm, terminated by bulbels, rhizomes generally lost when specimens are collected, ovoid, 1-2 × 0.6-1.8 cm; outer coats enclosing 1 or more bulbs, light brown to gray, membranous, obscurely cellular-reticulate, cells rectangular, walls minutely sinuous, vertical, varying to irregular, all sinuous, without fibers; inner coats white to pink, cells obscure, quadrate. Leaves persistent, green at anthesis, 2-5, basally sheathing, sheaths not extending much above soil surface; blade solid, flat, broadly channeled, 8-30 cm × 1-13 mm, margins entire. Scape persistent, solitary or clustered 1-3, erect, solid, terete, 10-30(-40) cm × 1-5 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, loose, 15-40-flowered, globose, bulbils unknown; spathe bracts persistent, 2, 3-4-veined, ovate to lanceolate, ± equal, apex acuminate. Flowers stellate, 7-10 mm; tepals spreading, lilac to white, lanceolate, ± equal, becoming papery in fruit, not carinate, margins entire, apex acuminate, not involute; stamens included; anthers purple; pollen yellow; ovary conspicuously crested; processes 6, central, distinct, flattened, triangular, margins papillose-denticulate; style included, linear, ± equaling stamens; stigma capitate, unlobed; pedicel 10-20 mm, often becoming flexuous and deflexed in fruit. Seed coat shining; cells each with minute, central papilla. 2n = 14, 28.
Flowering May--Jul. Meadows and aspen groves, less commonly on open slopes in mountains; 1100--3000 m; Ariz., Calif., Idaho, Nev., N.Mex., Oreg., Utah.
Two varieties of Allium bisceptrum have been recognized. Where their ranges overlap (central Utah and central Nevada), the putative varieties cannot be distinguished confidently except by chromosome number.
FNA 2002, Kearney and Peebles 1969
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial from 1-7 bulbs, produces cluster of stalked, basal bulbels, ovoid, 1-2 cm by 0.6-1.8 cm, inner coats white to pink. Leaves: Persistent, green at anthesis, 2-5, basally sheathing, sheaths do not extend much above soil surface; blade flat, solid, channeled, 8-30 cm long by 1-13 mm wide, entire margins. Flowers: Persistent scape, solitary or clustered 1-3, erect, solid and terete, 10-30 cm tall by 1-5 mm wide; persistent umbel, 15-40 flowered, globose, spathe bracts persistent, ovate to lanceolate, more or less equal with an acuminate apex; stellate flowers 7-10 mm, spreading tepals, lilac to white, lanceolate, becoming papery in fruit with entire margins and an acuminate apex; stamens included, anthers purple. Fruits: Capsule with six prominent, finely toothed crests and wrinkled seeds. Ecology: Found on open slopes and in meadows from 3,500-10,000 ft (1067-3048 m); flowers May-July. Distribution: Ranges north from Arizona through the Intermountain and Pacific west to Oregon and Idaho. Notes: There are two recognized varieties but they are only distinguished by chromosome number. Ethnobotany: The bulbs eaten raw or cooked, used as an appetite restorer, leaves eaten as a garnish, and the seeds were roasted and eaten. Etymology: Allium is Latin for garlic, while bisceptrum means having two structures similar to a scepter. Synonyms: Allium bisceptrum var. palmeri Editor: SBuckley, 2010