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Allium tuberosum - Rottler. ex Spreng.

Common Name Garlic Chives, Chinese chives, Oriental Chives,
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 4-8
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    (5 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
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


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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 August to September, and the seeds ripen from September to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, insects.
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.



 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].

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.


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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.

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 :

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Expert comment


Rottler. ex Spreng.

Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

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.

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.

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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Subject : Allium tuberosum  
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