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Allium cepa aggregatum - G.Don.

Common Name Potato Onion
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this plant. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Not known in wild.
Range Not known in wild.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Allium cepa aggregatum Potato Onion


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium cepa aggregatum Potato Onion
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium cepa aggregatum is a BULB growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) 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 moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked[4, 33]. A nice onion flavour, when chopped up finely they make a nice addition to salads and can also be used as a cooked vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods[K]. Some of the cultivars are considered to be gourmet onions[183]. Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong onion flavour[K]. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads. The flowers are somewhat dry and are less pleasant than many other species[K].

Medicinal Uses

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Anthelmintic  Antiinflammatory  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Carminative  Diuretic  Expectorant  Febrifuge  
Hypoglycaemic  Hypotensive  Lithontripic  Skin  Stomachic  Tonic

Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body. The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic[4, 7, 21]. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack[254]. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay[254]. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores[254]. Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints[7, 201]. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache[254]. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles[7].

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Other Uses

Cosmetic  Dye  Hair  Polish  Repellent  Rust

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and can also be rubbed onto the skin to repel insects[7]. The plant juice can be used as a rust preventative on metals and as a polish for copper and glass[7]. A yellow-brown dye is obtained from the skins of the bulbs[141, 168]. Onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness[7]. It is also used as a cosmetic to get rid of freckles[7]. The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[201]. A spray made by pouring enough boiling water to cover 1kg of chopped unpeeled onions is said to increase the resistance of other plants to diseases and parasites[201].

Special Uses

Food Forest

Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny sheltered position in a light well-drained fertile soil[1] but tolerates most soils. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The potato onion was at one time fairly widely grown as a vegetable, but it has now fallen into virtual disuse[16]. There are still some named forms available[183]. This is a genuinely perennial form of A. cepa, the bulb grows deeper in the soil and divides to produce a number of underground bulbs each year in much the same way as shallots. Large bulbs divide to form 5 - 15 bulbs whilst smaller bulbs grow into one large bulb[160]. According to one report, the bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1], whilst another report says that they should be planted just below soil level[4]. Onions grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit 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]. The plant is heat tolerant in zones 12 through 2. (Plant Hardiness Zones show how well plants withstand cold winter temperatures. Plant Heat Zones show when plants would start suffering from the heat. The Plant Heat Zone map is based on the number of "heat days" experienced in a given area where the temperature climbs to over 86 degrees F (30°C). At this temperature, many plants begin to suffer physiological damage. Heat Zones range from 1 (no heat days) to 12 (210 or more heat days). For example Heat Zone. 11-1 indicates that the plant is heat tolerant in zones 11 through 1.) For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is a bulb.

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Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Seed is seldom produced by this plant[4]. Division in late summer. Harvest the bulbs as the foliage dies down and store them in a cool place. In areas with mild winters the bulbs are traditionally replanted on the shortest day of the year, but in colder areas it is best to wait until late winter or even early spring[4]. Plant the bulbs only just below the soil surface[4].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
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Allium cepaOnion, Garden onionBulb0.6 4-8  LMNM53 
Allium cepa ascalonicumShallotBulb0.3 4-8  LMNM53 
Allium cepa proliferumTree Onion, Walking OnionBulb1.2 4-8  LMNM533
Allium cernuumNodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onionBulb0.5 5-9  LMHNM522
Allium chinenseRakkyoBulb0.3 6-9  LMNM42 
Allium condensatum Bulb0.6 4-8  LMNM32 
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Allium douglasiiDouglas' OnionBulb0.3 0-0  LMNDM32 
Allium dregeanumWild OnionBulb0.6 -  LMNDM32 
Allium drummondiiPrairie Onion, Drummond's onionBulb0.3 6-9  LMNM32 
Allium fistulosumWelsh OnionBulb0.6 0-0  LMHNM522
Allium flavumSmall Yellow Onion, Ornamental OnionBulb0.5 4-7 MLMHSNM22 
123

 

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Author

G.Don.

Botanical References

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Readers comment

M. Buchanan   Sun Nov 18 2007

I am looking for a source for this onion to be grown in British Columbia, Canada. I cannot seem to find anyone that will sell these heirloom onions! Can anyone help me! Thanks.

R. Joseph   Sat Dec 1 2007

Yellow potato onions are available from www.tateronions.com for US$15. That buys you about 3 dozen bulbs. I planted some earlier this fall that sprouted fine. I just ordered some more this week. They will sell out, but still have them as of this week. If you wish you may contact me thru my website: www.imagesbykehl.com. Happy growing!

tater onions Yellow Potato Onions available for $15

R. Joseph   Sun Dec 2 2007

Yellow potato onions are available from www.tateronions.com for US$15. That buys you about 3 dozen bulbs. I planted some earlier this fall that sprouted fine. I just ordered some more this week. They will sell out, but still have them as of this week. If you wish you may contact me thru my website: www.imagesbykehl.com. Happy growing!

tater onions Yellow Potato Onions available for $15

M. LaFleur   Wed Jan 9 2008

I noticed on the tateronions site that they do not ship outside the continental United States. However, I think the following site does ship to Canada, seems I saw a mention. I also believe the price is cheaper, though perhaps with shipping added it comes out about the same. http://www.southernexposure.com Do a site search on potato onion. Both ship in fall. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (in Virginia) has white and yellow.

Anna Greenwood   Wed Dec 17 2008

I am looking for a source of this bulb in the UK. Can anyone help?

   Fri Apr 24 2009

potato onion bulbs from the uk are sold here http://www.poyntzfieldherbs.co.uk/catalogue2.asp?searchterm=allium and also here http://www.laurelfarmherbs.co.uk/

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