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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Brodiaea hyacinthina

Fool's Onion, White Brodiaea

Flowering Period: May, Jun, Aug May June August
Flower color: white
Full sun Mostly sunny
Moist soil


At a Glance: Onion-like plant from an underground corm, with large clusters of white flowers at tip of stems.

Height: 10-30 inches (25-70 cm).
Growth Form: Herb.
Leaves: 1-2 grass-like leaves at plant base; wither after flowering; size: 40 cm (16 in) long, 1 cm wide; color: green.
Flowers: In large umbel at top of a slender stalk 25-70 cm (10-28 in) tall and surpassing leaves. 3-5 bracts below umbel are small and papery. Each braodly bell-shaped flower is white to light blue, with blue or green veins; size: 1-1.5 cm long.
Flowering Period: May, June, August.
Fruits: Stalked capsules.

Brodiaea hyacinthina
Photo © 2003, Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

Can occur in wetlands that dry out by late summer.

wet
moist
dry

Wetland Indicator Status:
NI (no indicator data)
0-2000 m; prefers uplands, but wet prairies also.

low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
Also found in sagebrush deserts east of Cascades.
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites


Wildlife Value
(data not available)

Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Name Info: Known as Hyacinth Brodiaea because the flowers somewhat resemble hyacinths, which are typically purplish-blue. Hyacinth was either Homers name for a flower that sprang from the blood of Hyakinthose, or from an earlier (Thraco-pelagian) word for the blue color of water. The plant somewhat resembles an onion, but it has no onion flavor or smell.


Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.