Fool's Onion (Triteleia hyacinthina)

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Bright white flowers and edible bulbs!

Well, technically these are corms, but they're kinda like bulbs. This plant is a first food, and has long been eaten by tribes along the pacific coast. The corms can be eaten raw or cooked, and are best dug in summer, after the flowers are gone.

Above ground, Fool's Onion has a few long, thin leaves through the spring. These leaves give way to white puffballs in late spring, which mingle very favorably with other plants in the garden.

Like many native plants, Fool's Onion likes a wet winter and spring, followed by a dry summer. This species needs a dry period during the summer, otherwise it can be susceptible to rot - so if you are irrigating, make sure to cut back during the summer!

Fool's Onion corms produce offsets, which can be dug and divided after the plant goes dormant in the summer. It is generally appropriate to dig and divide corms in August, keep them in a cool, dry place, and plant them about 4-5 inches deep in late October through November.

Photo Credit: Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Photo Credit: Stan Shebs, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Long-lived perennial (20+ years)
Full sun to mostly sun
Moist soil, drying out in summer
1-2 feet tall
White puffballs
Bloom Period:
Mid to late spring
A few long, thin leaves
Native Range:
Southern BC through California, west of the Cascades
Typical Habitat:
Meadows, prairies, hillsides