Grama and Onions

by Carl Strang

This week’s addition to the winter botany gallery is of two quite different plants. The first is a dry-soil grass, the side-oats grama.

The fruiting head is distinctive, as was the grass when blooming.

When I think of this plant’s flowers, I remember the brilliant red of its stamens.

I need to get a better photo. This one was just starting to bloom, and only gave a hint of that striking color.

Here is the other plant I want to feature today.

It has a more or less spherical head, and black seeds.

I knew that these plants had to be onions when I noticed them last week, but Mayslake has two fairly common species, the wild onion and the nodding wild onion. Most of these were not obviously nodding, though they did appear to have a slight flex in the top part of the stem.

Others clearly were nodding.

When I went back to check references, I learned that all the ones I had seen were nodding wild onions. The other species does not have nearly so many flowers. Apparently these often straighten up after blooming.

Here is a nodding wild onion flowering.

I did not notice any wild onions in fruit. That is one of the species for which I will need to note exact locations if I am to know what they look like (or whether any parts of them remain visible) in winter.

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