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Columbia River onion facts for kids

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Columbia River onion
Allium robinsonii 1934.JPG
Allium robinsonii in Grant County, Washington
Scientific classification

Allium robinsonii, the Columbia River onion or Robinson's onion, is a rare plant species native to the US States of Washington and Oregon, although some studies suggest that the Oregon populations may now be extinct. The species has been reported from 5 counties in Washington (Ferry, Yakima, Grant, Franklin and Benton) and 5 in Oregon (Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman and Wasco). It is found in sand and gravel deposits along the lower Columbia River and some of its tributaries, usually at elevations less than 200 m. The species is also cultivated as an ornamental in other regions, including in Europe.

Allium robinsonii produces 1-3 egg-shaped bulbs up to 2 cm long, but no underground rhizomes. Flowering stalks are relatively short for the genus, rarely more than 8 cm tall. Flowers are bell-shaped, up to 9 mm across; tepals white to pale pink with red midrib; anthers purple; pollen yellow or gray; ovary crested. The plant is named in honor of B.L. Robinson of the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University.

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