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Not a pregnant onion

Posted by jcoireangus CA (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 21, 11 at 2:45

I'm looking for help identifying a plant that looks a lot like a pregnant onion but isn't one. The bulb is green and rests mostly above the soil. The bulb looks like an onion but is about the size of a softball. Baby bulbs form around the base. The leaves are long and strap like.

So far, it sound like a pregnant onion but here is where it differs. It flowers directly out of the center of the onion. The flowers are large (about three inches) mostly white with a bit of lavender in the center. The flowers or not on a stock and look vaguely lily-like.

These are very old plants, maybe twenty years, but not woody. The stalk that grown out of the bulb is about two feet tall. The leaves fall away from the stal and can be two or three feet long.

I think it is either a relative of a pregnant onion ( we have one of those too) or some kind of amaryllis.

Any suggestions?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Not a pregnant onion

It could still be an Ornithogalum... might be worth a hunt on

RE: Not a pregnant onion

I think I have a species of Crinum rather than a pregnant onion. The person I got them from called them pregnant onions but I don't think they are. The confusion comes from the size of the bulbs and that they're rooted on the surface.

RE: Not a pregnant onion

That certainly sounds like a crinum. However, crinums look totally lily like, well actually amaryllis like. They come in rosy reds, pinks, and whites, sometimes with stripes or blushes. Some of the pinks I have seen can look lavender, especially as they age. In every other way, your description sounds like a crinum. Another clue might be that when a crinum puts up a bloom stalk, it looks exactly like an amaryllis before it opens.

Another possibility might be the old Iris, Twelve Apostles, but its blooms look like Irises, though much much smaller than bearded ones.

RE: Not a pregnant onion

Here's a 'line-up' of possibles:

(I wish I hadn't seen them with my little green eyes. Sigh.)

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