Allium cyathophorum

Allium cyathophorum Bureau & Franchet is a Chinese species that reportedly grows in meadows and slopes in rock crevices at elevations of 2700–4600m. Two varieties are widely accepted: var. cyathophorum and var. farreri.

Allium cyathophorum var. cyathophorum has petals that are rounded at the apex compared with the acute or pointed petals in var. farreri, there is also a small difference in the shape of the filaments. Grows at a higher elevation, typically around 3000-4600 m.


Allium cyathophorum var. farreri (Stearn) Stearn (syn. Allium farreri Stearn) is native to China where it grows on grassy slopes at high elevations of around 2700-3600 m. It has reddish purple flowers with stamens fused in a tube. It appreciates moist conditions in summer and tolerates shade. It flowers late spring to summer. First photo by John Lonsdale. Following two photos of first year flowers by RH grown in pots in the UK, initially obtained as Alium sibthorpianum from AGS seed. Last photo by Travis Owen shows the root mass. The roots are present year-round and should not be allowed to dry out.

Allium cyathophorum var. farreri, John LonsdaleAllum cyathophorum var. farreri, RHAllum cyathophorum var. farreri, RHAllum cyathophorum var. farreri roots, Travis Owen

Photos by David Pilling taken at the start of June 2013; this plant was grown from seed supplied as Alium sibthorpianum and sown at the start of 2009; it has been flowering for a couple of years.

Allium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David Pilling

Disassembling the flowers: these photographs were taken a few days later than the ones above and it is apparent the flowers are now more red. Photo 4 shows a ripe seed pod with seed visible. Photo 6 is of the roots after the plant had gone dormant at the end of the year. Flora of China says of the type species "Roots rather long, thick. Bulb solitary or clustered, cylindric; tunic grayish brown, fibrous, sometimes subreticulate." and provides an illustration.

Allium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri seed 28th July 2013, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri seed, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri roots 29th October 2013, David Pilling

Seeds were put in a zip-seal bag with damp kitchen towel on 14th December 2013 and exposed to outside temperatures (around 40 °F); by the middle of January 2014 they had begun to germinate as shown in photo 1. Photo 2 is of the shoots of mature plants.

Allium cyathophorum var. farreri seeds 20th January 2014, David PillingAllium cyathophorum var. farreri shoots 26th January 2014, David Pilling


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Page last modified on October 24, 2015, at 06:16 AM