Edible Wild: You Can Eat Wild Onion Grass

Updated on November 27, 2018

Wild onion grass

Onion grass is edible and taste great!
Onion grass is edible and taste great! | Source

Eating wild onion grass


The wild is full of edible plants. Humans have eaten edible plants since long before agriculture was invented. Although we have since domesticated most of our current diet, much of what we used to eat still remains just as wild and just as edible. One such family of plants is the bulbous variety. Onion Grass is part of this family. And just like other members of this family, like shallots, onions and garlic, you can eat wild onion grass.

The beginning of agriculture

Very early in our ancestry, before 10,000BCE when humans were still hunter-gatherers, they subsisted on whatever edible things they could find in the wild. They managed to find enough to sustain small groups, but life was tough. Most carnivorous animals found humans quite tasty and An innumerable number of plants contained powerful poisons that killed many naïve consumers. Worse yet, the threat of injury increased with every step in the unforgiving landscape.

Taming the wild

Around 9500 BC a cultural revolution completely transformed the lifestyle of humans. This time period marked the first strong evidence for plant domestication. Humans were beginning to tame the wild. They began to select and cultivate wheat with specific qualities that they found favorable. For example, traits such as large yield, good flavor, and robust growth aided the flourishing of larger numbers of people on smaller portions of land. Agriculture was more effective than hunting and gathering food. It was also much easier and less dangerous. These qualities made possible the emergence of the fertile crescent, an area that roughly included modern day Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Jerusalem, which made modern civilization possible. They deserve much credit for the emergence of modern agriculture.

What did they eat

As mentioned above, wheat was the earliest known domesticated wild plant, but others were domesticated too. Rice and corn were cultivated in China and the Americas, respectively, and a commonly cultivated type of plant was the bulbous plant family. Bulbous plants are well known by their culinary names: shallot, garlic, and onion.

Picture of a garlic plant showing the characteristics of bulbous plants like onion grass.
Picture of a garlic plant showing the characteristics of bulbous plants like onion grass. | Source

The Onion Family

What is a bulbous plant

Bulbous plants are characterized by long tube-shaped leaves that grow upward and a bulb shaped growth at the bottom which serves as the base of the plant. The bulb is the most commonly eaten part of the plant. When eating garlic, onions, or shallots, you are eating the bulb of the plant.

You can eat the leaves of bulbous plants.

The bulbs of some bulbous plants are very small and not typically eaten. Chives, for instance, comes from the leafy part of the chive plant and are a great culinary herb. Wild onion grass is very similar but less well known The long tubular leaves of the plant have a distinct onion taste that most people will find very appealing. However, there is no reason that one couldn't eat the bulbs of onion grass too.

Onion grass is not poisonous

just because it's a wild species does not mean it's poisonous. This is probably the biggest concern when deciding whether to grow and eat a plant from the wild. Onion grass has gotten a bad rap because it looks very similar to death camas, a plant from the lily family. Death camas is very poisonous; onion grass is not. To easily distinguish between onion grass and inedible lookalikes, search for its distinctive onion-like smell. It is both unique to the plant and apparent upon inspection. But a word of caution: whenever in doubt, keep it out of your mouth.

Technically, it's a weed

It is commonly classified as an invasive weed, so Gardeners everywhere try to control wild onion grass. With weed killer in hand and a distasteful look in their eyes, many people don't realize that it can be a very easy plant to grow in their garden. It just needs a little extra care so that it doesn't overtake your garden.

Onion grass in my backyard garden

Onion grass plant I grow in my backyard garden
Onion grass plant I grow in my backyard garden | Source


You can eat wild onion grass

Onion grass is very similar to food you already eat. Its onion flavor will be both familiar and flavorful. So Next time you run into some on your property, or an area that you can be sure is safe to eat from, try it! Humans spent thousands of years living off the wild things around them. True, many of them died eating poisonous things, but all those years of naïve choices made it very clear that onion grass was not one of them. And the best part about finding wild onion grass is that it's free and easy to grow.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Spurwing Plover 

        9 months ago

        Sometimes the oder will attarct you to wild onion its realy not hard to miss

      • profile image


        9 months ago

        Just dont give any to ur dog

      • profile image


        16 months ago

        It is edible, but don't let your dairy animals eat it unless you like onion milk. Also, it'll give you worse breath than regular onion or garlic.

      • profile image


        7 years ago

        Botanical name of the plant.

        What is known locally as 'onion grass' varies from one place to another in this country (Australia), let alone across the world.

        Secondly, it should be made very clear that not all bulbous plants are edible --- some are very poisonous (eg. Narcissus. Genus ie the daffodils/jonquils)

        This is not made out sufficiently clearly in the text.

      • RyanBuda profile imageAUTHOR

        Ryan Buda 

        7 years ago from Windsor, Connecticut

        No problem! Wild onion grass is one of natures best kept secrets.

      • hisandhers profile image


        7 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

        It's true- onion grass can be found almost anywhere in my area and it seems to spread with very little maintenance. I always knew it was called onion grass but I never knew that it was actually edible until now! Thanks for the info.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)