Allium semenovii Regel, Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 41(1): 449 1868. (Syn: Allium semenovii var. versicolor Regel; Allium tristylum Regel; Allium tristylum var. rubescens Regel; Allium tristylum var. versicolor Regel);
Common name: Semenov’s Onion
C. Asia to NW. China as per WCSP;
This species is native to both temperate and tropical Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrygstan, China (Xinjiang) and India (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir)) (USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program 2014).
Pandey et al. (2008) state that this species is common in India, with wild subpopulations distributed in the Western Himalaya, Kashmir to Uttarakhand, Hamachal Pradesh and Zanskar. Further research to ascertain population information for the rest of this species’ range is required.
In China Allium semenovii occurs either as a solitary plant or in clusters and it prefers open slopes and damp/wet places, forest margins, and meadows from 2,000–3,000 m a.s.l. (and up to 4,000 m a.s.l in the Himalayas). It flowers and fruits from May to August in China and in India it flowers from July to September (Polunin and Stainton 1984, Pandey et al. 2008, eFloras 2012).
In India this species is used as flavouring and has potential as an ornamental plant (Pandey et al. 2008). Furthermore the juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and the whole plant is documented to repel insects and moles (Riotte 1978, Plants for a Future 2014). It is also a Taxon Group three relative of Chives Allium schoenoprasum L. and Chinese Scallion A. chinense G.Don (Friesen et al. 2006, Vincent et al. 2013) and so has potential for use as a gene donor in crop improvement.
Fwd: Is this Allium semenovii Regel? : 4 posts by 1 author. Attachments (1)
I am posting this fine image scanned in from a slide taken by the late Oleg Polunin during one of the final pony-treks he led for a group of plant enthusiasts who travelled from near Sonamarg into the Suru Valley in early 1980s. I believe it was taken in Ladakh territory.
I came in as his last-minute replacement as leader of a trek in Miyah Nullah, Lahaul in 1985 (sadly, he passed away whilst we were in India).
Strangely enough, I was born just a few hundred metres away from where he lived for many years whilst a botany master at Charterhouse Public School in the UK. Polunin was given leave (in addition to the summer school holidays to join mountaineering expedition, as non-climbing naturalist in the Karakoram and Nepal when it opened up to expeditions in the late 1940s and early 1950s – he joined the Polunin, Sykes & Williams Expedition to Nepal in 1952). Wilfred another master at Chaterhouse, got leave to join mountaineering expeditions. You will remember that it was 1953 when Everest was climbed for the first time from the south through Nepal – the early attempts to climb Everest pre-WWII were from Tibet, to the North.
At that time, Nepal was closed to foreigners.
Allium is a difficult genus identification-wise.
Stewart recorded Allium semenovii from N.Pakistan and Ladakh including Pensi La & Suru plus in Kashmir including Sonamarg & Zoji La – so this all fits with where Oleg photographed it.
He states that Wendelbo considered that this and Allium atrosanguineum differ in colour. Allium semenovii is always yellow.
Dickore & Klimes do not have Allium semenovii in their Ladakh check-list (2005).
Flowers of the Himalaya record it from open slopes & wet places @ 3000-4000m from Pakistan to Himachal Pradesh.
There is no record of this species in ‘Flora of Lahaul-Spiti’.
There is an image (unfortunately out-of-focus, so of limited use and thus impossible to comment on the flowers: https://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Semenov’s%20Onion.html
What do other members think. Provisionally at least, this represents another first entry for eFI.
Catalogue of Life The Plant List Ver.1.1 WCSP IPNI