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Plant Profile

Goodding's Onion (Allium gooddingii)

Goodding's Onion (Allium gooddingii) blooming in situ in New Mexico's Lincoln National Forest.

Photo Credit: Tom Kaye
  • Global Rank: G2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Liliaceae
  • State: AZ, NM, NN
  • Nature Serve ID: 150468
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 06/18/1986

Goodding's onion is a delicate perennial with reddish-purple flowers and a pungent onion aroma. It appears after snow melt and blooms from late May to mid-June. It is often hard to locate and identify plants due to heavy grazing by domestic and wild ungulates that reduce the aboveground parts of the plants to short stubs and may not even leave that much. For this reason its population numbers are hard to quantify when the habitat is not protected. Luckily for this species, it was listed as a candidate for federal endangered/threatened status. The need for protection of this species was recognized in 1998 when a conservation agreement between the Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency was put in place in order to reduce or eliminate threats to it. Two years later, this protection paid off, when Allium gooddingii was removed from the list for candidate status. (USFWS 2000)

Where is Goodding's Onion (Allium gooddingii) located in the wild?


Typically found in mature forests, along north-trending drainage bottoms associated with perennial, intermittent and ephemeral stream courses in mixed-conifer and spruce-fir zones at elevations ranging from 7,000-9,400 ft. elevation (USFWS 2000).


Apache-Sitgreaves, Coronado, Lincoln, and Gila National Forests of New Mexico (USFWS 2000).

States & Provinces:

Goodding's Onion can be found in Arizona, Navajo Nation, New Mexico

Which CPC Partners conserve Goodding's Onion (Allium gooddingii)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Katie Heineman
  • 12/21/2022
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation holds orthodox seed collections for Goodding's Onion as part of the CPC-USDA Material Transfer Research Agreement.

Tom Kaye
  • 11/28/2022
  • Seed Collection Orthodox Seed Banking

For the second consecutive year, the Lincoln National Forest collected seed from the New Mexico state endangered Goodding's Onion (Allium gooddingii), which is also listed as a U.S. Forest Service Region 3 “sensitive species”. On 9/12/2022 and 9/13/2022, a total of 1,376 seeds were collected from 121 maternal lines. Comparatively, in 2021, 5,905 seeds were collected from 564 maternal lines. All seed collected in 2022 was sent to the Institute for Applied Ecology for processing and will then be sent to the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation in Fort Collins, CO for long-term storage.

The Goodding's Onion only occurs in six counties in NM and AZ, and over 95% of all known populations and their habitats have burned in wildfires since 2006. On the Lincoln National Forest, Goodding’s Onion only occurs in the Smokey Bear Ranger District. Metapopulations occur within and adjacent to the Ski Apache Ski Resort, generally under the canopy of mature mixed-conifer and spruce-fir forest habitat, but also in open meadows, avalanche chutes, and ski slopes surrounded by subalpine forest habitat. Large portions of the Smokey Bear Ranger District’s Goodding's Onion population burned in the Little Bear Fire of 2012 and Three Rivers Fire of 2021. In 2021 and 2022, seed collection efforts were focused largely on plants in the Three Rivers Fire burn scar, as the long-term persistence of these plants is questionable following major canopy cover loss. Seed collection also focused on plants in relatively undisturbed areas (i.e., areas with an intact canopy structure that have not been affected by wildfire), as plant numbers in these areas were large enough to support seed collection. Seed collection was carried out so that seeds of a local genotype are available for future seeding and propagation efforts.


Sheila Murray
  • 11/10/2021
  • Seed Collection

Allium gooddingii is a species of wild onion found in high-elevation forests in Arizona and New Mexico. This species may have a difficult time responding to any severe wildfires that burn through the habitat. It prefers deep shade, and any catastrophic wildfire ultimately removes that shade. To help preserve this species, The Arboretum at Flagstaff has partnered with CPC and the U.S. Forest Service to make seed collections of multiple populations. These seed collections will be held long-term, and can be a valuable resource for any future work with the species. In 2021 we collected from three populations in Arizona, and we also have helped facilitate long-term storage of seed from seven more populations collected by the USFS and the Navajo Nation in Arizona and New Mexico.

  • 08/26/2020
  • Seed Collection

Cultivation requirements are known and seed is in long-term storage. New Mexico populations need to be collected.

  • 08/26/2020
  • Living Collection

Plants have been cultivated at the Arboretum of Flagstaff. (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999)

  • 08/16/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Cultivation requirements are known and seed is in long-term storage. New Mexico populations need to be collected.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Formerly thought to be rare, numerous populations have recently been found in Arizona and in Navajo Nation. While it is threatened by collecting, grazing, and logging, it is known to return following disturbance.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

As stated by USFWS (2000), threats include: Timber harvesting Livestock grazing Road construction Recreation

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Populations are known from Santa Catalina (Pima County) and White Mountains (Apache County) of Arizona and the Mogollan Mountains (Grant and Catron Counties) and Sierra Blanca Peak (Otero County) (USFWS 2000).

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Plants have been cultivated at the Arboretum of Flagstaff. (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Goodding's onion is still monitored periodically on U.S. Forest Service and Navajo Nation lands. A 1998 conservation agreement between the FS and the EPA includes plans to reduce or eliminate threats to the onion by maintaining the canopy cover and avoiding ground disturbance and erosion during timber harvesting activities in and near occupied sites, prohibiting new livestock structures that would attract grazing ungulates to occupied sites, and prohibiting or redesigning new roads and trails found to adversely affect this species of onion. (USFWS 2000)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Most populations are not considered to be threatened, but continued monitoring is advised.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Cultivation requirements are known and seed is in long-term storage. New Mexico populations need to be collected.


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Taxon Allium gooddingii
Authority Ownbey
Family Liliaceae
CPC Number 76
ITIS 42675
Duration Perennial
Common Names Goodding's onion | Gooding's onion
Associated Scientific Names Allium gooddingii
Distribution Apache-Sitgreaves, Coronado, Lincoln, and Gila National Forests of New Mexico (USFWS 2000).
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S3S4
New Mexico S2
Navajo Nation 3
Ecological Relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Diptera Confirmed Pollinator Link
Hymenoptera Confirmed Pollinator Link
Lepidoptera Confirmed Pollinator Link

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