Wild Onion Allium
Cherokee: sv-gi, ge-ya-ta-hi
Wild onion is is the Lily family. Many people consider this plant to be a weed but it has an important place in Cherokee usage. When I was growing up in Muskogee, Oklahoma, within the Cherokee Nation, you could buy Wild onions in bunches like chives. But my mother would send me out on our small farm to gather them in April and May before a choke would develop near the root end. My mother would use the green portion of the plant to add to many foods. One of my favorite uses was cooked with scrambled eggs. It can also be used to season soups and sauces. Some of my Master Gardener friends have said that the only thing they have sauted with Wild Onions is Roundup. In my garden it is planted in a pot because it can be aggressive.
Wild Onions were eaten annually by the Cherokee during April and May. It was used as a tonic to clean the body system. It was used to treat colic, croup, hives, colds, sore throat and liver problems.
I look forward every spring for the chance to eat Wild Onions which are just a little stronger than chives. There is another native plant which is very similar to the Wild Onion and that is Wild Garlic. However the Wild Garlic will produce a beautiful purple flower in Mid Summer and has a taller and thicker stem.