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Allium tuberosum - Rottler. ex Spreng.                
                 
Common Name Garlic Chives, Chinese chives, Oriental Chives,
Family Alliaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range E. Asia? Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       
Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early fall, Late summer, Late fall, Mid fall. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium tuberosum is a BULB growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 7 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Aug to September, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Allium tuberosum Garlic Chives, Chinese chives, Oriental Chives,


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium tuberosum Garlic Chives, Chinese chives, Oriental Chives,
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Oil;  Root.
Edible Uses: Oil.

Leaves - raw or cooked[1, 15, 46, 52, 88]. A mild flavour, somewhat like a cross between garlic and chives[K], they are delicious in salads[183]. The flavour is destroyed by lengthy cooking[238]. The leaves are available from early spring until late in the autumn[K]. They contain about 2.6% protein, 0.6% fat, 2.4% carbohydrate, 0.95% ash. They also contain small amounts of vitamins A, B1 and C[179]. The rather small bulbs are about 10mm in diameter and are produced in clusters on a short rhizome[200]. Flowers and flower buds - raw or cooked[52, 88, 183]. A delicious flavouring and pretty garnish for the autumn salad bowl[K]. Root - raw or cooked. An edible oil is obtained from the seed[183].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 2.6g; Fat: 0.6g; Carbohydrate: 2.4g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.9g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 0mg; Phosphorus: 0mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 0mg; Potassium: 0mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 0mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ ]
  • Notes:
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Cardiac;  Digestive;  Stomachic;  Tonic.

The whole plant is antibacterial, cardiac, depurative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[61, 174, 218]. It is an anti-emetic herb that improves kidney function[238]. It is used internally to treat urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder weaknesses etc[238]. The seed is carminative and stomachic[218]. They are used in India in the treatment of spermatorrhoea[240]. The leaves and the bulbs are applied to bites, cuts and wounds[218].
Other Uses
Oil;  Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden. An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a rich moist but well-drained soil[1, 88]. Tolerates most soils[52, 88], including clay[203, 206]. Tolerant of dry soils, established plants also resist drought[190]. Tolerates some shade, even in N.W. England[203]. The roots penetrate up to 50cm into the soil[206]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. This plant succeeds in temperate and tropical climates[90]. It appears to be fully hardy in Britain[90]. Plants tolerate 40 degrees of frost in Manchuria (the report does not say if this is fahrenheit or centigrade)[206]. Plants remain green until temperatures fall below 4 - 5°c, they come into new growth in spring when temperatures go above 2 - 3°c[206]. Often cultivated for its edible leaves and bulb in the Orient, there are many named varieties[90, 183]. There are two main types of cultivar, one is grown for its leaves and the other for its flowering stem[200, 206].This species is being increasingly grown as a garden vegetable in Britain[K]. A very ornamental plant, it grows well as an edging plant in the flower garden[K]. Closely related to A. ramosum[203]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233]. Special Features: Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. The seed has a fairly short viability and should not be used when more than 1 year old[206]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle - if you want to produce clumps more quickly then put three plants in each pot. Plant out in late summer if the plants have developed sufficiently, otherwise plant them out the following spring. Division in early spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at almost any time of the year. The divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Rottler. ex Spreng.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
200266
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[15]Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden.
A small book with interesting ideas for edible plants in the ornamental garden.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[52]Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round.
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
[54]Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[88]RHS. The Garden. Volume 112.
Snippets of information from the magazine of the RHS. In particular, there are articles on plants that are resistant to honey fungus, oriental vegetables, Cimicifuga spp, Passiflora species and Cucurbits.
[90]Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs
Superbly illustrated, it gives brief details on cultivation and native habitat.
[174]Kariyone. T. Atlas of Medicinal Plants.
A good Japanese herbal.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[190]Chatto. B. The Dry Garden.
A good list of drought resistant plants with details on how to grow them.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[203]Davies. D. Alliums. The Ornamental Onions.
Covers about 200 species of Alliums. A very short section on their uses, good details of their cultivation needs.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
elle Mon Nov 27 2006
Just a hint of garlic to the taste, not too strong. Much nicer than ordinary chives in my opinion, and I'd use it in similar situations. Pretty white flowers: I've heard some people saying it is somewhat invasive but it's easy enough to remove seedpods after flowering as they take a while to open.
Elizabeth H.
Ottawa Gardener Thu Dec 11 2008
Garlic Chives are definitely hardy beyound zone 7 as they grow well in my zone 4a (Can. zone 5) garden in Ottawa. They are delicious, as previous comment said, I prefer them to chives. They can also be used blanched, grow well in pots indoors in the winter, self seed with abandon, make a great groundcover and the flowering stalk is tasty too.
Elizabeth H.
Sami Sieranoja Wed May 6 2009
quote:"Plants tolerate 40 degrees of frost in Manchuria (the report does not say if this is fahrenheit or centigrade" -40 fahrenheit is exactly the same as -40 celcius. (http://www.google.fi/search?&q=-40+fahrenheit+to+celsius )
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