I first got to know Allium cernuum, Nodding Wild Onion, in Banff National Park where I would occasionally come across it in the woods at lower elevations. It tended to be solitary, one stem, and rather delicate. The white and pink flowers hovered delicately above the various other woodland plants. A couple of times I found it blooming with the purple Alpine Clematis, a rather good combination. Needless to say, when I started my garden here, I wanted it, so when I saw Allium cernuum in one of the seed exchanges, I asked for some seed. Better yet, I eventually saw A. cernuum f. album listed, and sent for that too.
Then I got seeds of A. cernuum album and grew those. Look at this now:
Very nice, but not A. cernuum! The huge bracts (maybe they have another name, alliums have their own vocabulary, the straight stems and the fact that this is blooming now, nearly a month after A. cernuum tells me it is something different.
So I asked for seeds of A. cernuum album again, and what did I get but this:
Finally, this bloomed this year:
Allium cernuum forma album, as I live and breath!
Now, will someone please explain why it is much smaller than A. cernuum (look at the leaves and seed head arching in from the right hand side which are from the A. cernuum plant right beside the white one), blooms a month later, and has round flower clusters instead of the 'fireworks' shape of its cousin?