Allium oxyphilum Wherry

Locations ofAllium oxyphilum Wherry in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Allium oxyphilum Wherry
Common Name
Shale Barren Nodding Onion
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Allium oxyphilum Wherry
The validity of Allium oxyphilum as a species is open to question, perhaps being better treated as a variety of Allium cernuum. Nevertheless, plants conforming to the type occur along the West Virginia border and in one or two other places. The epithet "oxyphilum" means "acid-loving" in reference to its preferred substrates of shale and sandstone. These rock formations, however, are frequently quite calcareous despite having a low pH, and many acidic shale barrens support populations of typical Allium cernuum. The occurrence of "whitish" flowered specimens of A. cernuum in western Virginia may represent introgression with A. oxyphilum or incomplete sorting within A. cernuum. Specimens from the Southern Blue Ridge in Patrick Co. ( at VPI) are extremely robust and broad leaved, not at all typical of A. oxyphilum, but do have long pedicels. These populations are deserving of further study.
Rocky woodlands and outcrops on shaly or sandstone substrates. A Central Appalachian endemic (if recognized) of west-central VA and eastern WVA.
Native Status

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