Nodding Onion

Names: Nodding Onion


The Nodding Onion, also known as sweet onion or barbecuing onion, is a wild plant native to western Canada. Nodding Onions are perennial plants with elongated pinkish colored bulbs, often grown in clusters, and nodding bunches of pink flowers that bloom from May to July. The plant reproduces from seed or bulb division. The bulbs, young leaves and flowers are all edible, either raw or cooked, and have a mild onion flavor, with the leaves tasting similar to chives.

Bulbs like the Nodding Onion are an important traditional food of indigenous peoples whose territories covered Southern British Columbia and the upper northwestern coast of the United States. Nodding Onions were usually harvested before flowering, the leaves braided and the bulbs cooked in earth ovens. Nodding Onions are seriously threatened in western Canada due to loss of habitat caused by housing and industrial development as well as from the impact of environmental pollution and invasive species. As the plants are lost, so is the historical knowledge and practice of gathering the plants practiced for generations by First Nations people.


Wild onion bulbs may be confused for death camas.

The safest distiction is the onion odour of true wild onion plant

In very large quantities they are poisonous.