Leaf long and flat with fine longitudinal veins 

Flower stalks are cylindrical, leaves are flat

New flower head forming

Buds opening

Green markings up midvein of petals

Seeds are held in capsules which open and drop the seed when ripe

One main bulb surrounded by bulblets

Scientific Name

Nothoscordum borbonicum


Nothoscordum gracilis,  Nothoscordum inodorum

Common Names

onion weed, wild onion


South America




Distinguishing Characteristics

This is an upright herb to 105cm high with an underground bulb with many bulblets.

Leaves grow from the base and are linear, long, strap-like, smooth, mid to dark green and glossy.

Long cylindrical flower stalks grow from the centre of the plant. Flowers are bell-like, fragrant, in a small cluster at the tip of each stalk. Each flower has 7-pointed white to faint pink petals with pale green to brown markings along midvein. Flowers in spring to summer.

Fruit is a capsule, going from green to brown when mature. Seed is black.

This plant spreads by bulb and seed. If the plant is disturbed the bulblets break off easily and remain in the soil.

To control this plant cut off the flowers before going to seed.

To remove:

1. If the soil is soft, dig around and under the surrounding soil and place soil, bulb and bulblets into a bag.

2. If the soil is firm, either cut all leaves and stems and apply neat glyphosate or paint neat glyphosate up all of the leaves. Some people, before applying the glyphosate in the latter instance, tie the leaves into a knot to keep them from making contact with other plants once the glyphosate is applied.

Other plants easily confused with this plant

Other onion or garlic plants may be confused with onion weed however they tend to have a strong onion-like or garlic-like odour when the leaves are crushed whereas onion weed has little or no odour.

Sources & References

"Weeds - an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia" by B. A. Auld and R. W. Medd

"Plantnet FloraOnline"  (2005)

"Flora of New South Wales" editor Gwen J. Harden, Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney


Prepared by Justin KY Chu, July 2005

Checked by IEWF January 2007