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Allium fistulosum - L.                
                 
Common Name Welsh Onion
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 large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Cultivated for over 1000 years, it is not known in the wild.
Range E. Asia, possibly western China, though the original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Moist Soil Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium fistulosum is a BULB growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is not frost tender. It is in flower in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


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

Allium fistulosum Welsh Onion


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium fistulosum Welsh Onion
   
Habitats       
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked[2]. A strong onion flavour, it can be used in salads, as a cooked vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods[22, K]. The bulbs are rather small, usually 10 - 25mm in diameter though they can be up to 45mm[266], and are sometimes used as spring onions[183]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Leaves - raw or cooked[2]. They have a mild onion flavour[183] and can be added to salads or cooked as a vegetable[116]. The leaves are often available all through the winter if the weather is not too severe[K]. They contain about 1.4% protein, 0.3% fat, 4.6% carbohydrate, 0.8% ash, some vitamin B1 and moderate levels of vitamin C[179]. Flowers - raw. A pleasant onion flavour, but they are rather on the dry side[K].
Composition                                         
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Fresh weight)
  • 0 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 1.4g; Fat: 0.3g; Carbohydrate: 4.6g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.8g;
  • 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;  Antifungal;  Antipyretic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Stomachic.

The bulb contains an essential oil that is rich in sulphur compounds[283]. It is antibacterial, antiseptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, galactogogue, stomachic, vermifuge and vulnerary[176, 218]. It is used in the treatment of colds and abdominal coldness and fullness[176]. A tea made from the roots is a children's sedative[218]. Use of the bulb in the diet impedes internal parasites[218]. Externally, the bulb can be made into a poultice to drain pus from sores, boils and abscesses[254].
Other Uses
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                                         
An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1] but tolerates most soils[1, 52] including those that are damp and acid[203]. Prefers a pH in the range 6.5 to 7.5[206], but it tolerates a pH in the range 4.9 to 7.5. A very hardy species, it is related to the cultivated onion (A. cepa) and could be of value in breeding programmes. It is sometimes cultivated in the garden for its edible leaves which can be produced throughout the winter if the weather is not too severe[K]. A very popular cultivated vegetable in the Orient[206], it probably arose through cultivation from A. altaicum[203]. The oriental forms of this species, known as bunching onions, tend to be hardier and more robust than the welsh onion[206]. There are two basic forms, multi-stem types and single-stem types. The single-stem types divide less freely than the multi-stems[206]. Plants will often retain their leaves even when covered in snow[206]. They are also tolerant of high temperatures and can be grown in the tropics[206]. The plants are often eaten by slugs[K]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants[203]. 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].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates over a wide range of temperatures, it is faster at higher temperatures[206]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. When well-grown, the plants should be ready to be planted out in the summer. If they are not large enough at this time, grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter and plant them out in late spring. Division of the plants is very easy and can be done at almost any time of the year though the spring is probably best. The divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
L.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
266
                                                                                 
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]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[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.
[22]Sholto-Douglas. J. Alternative Foods.
Not very comprehensive, it seems more or less like a copy of earlier writings with little added.
[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.
[116]Brooklyn Botanic Garden Oriental Herbs and Vegetables, Vol 39 No. 2.
A small booklet packed with information.
[176]Yeung. Him-Che. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas.
An excellent Chinese herbal giving information on over 500 species. Rather technical and probably best suited to the more accomplished user of herbs.
[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.
[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.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[266] Flora of China
On-line version of the Flora - an excellent resource giving basic info on habitat and some uses.
[283]Nguyen Van Dan & Doan Thi Nhu Medicinal Plants in Vietnam
An excellent book, giving information on over 200 plants, their medicinal compounds and applications.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
Judith Gilliland Mon Sep 8 2008
where can i buy seeds/plants ???
Elizabeth H.
Mrs Pamela Robins Tue Mar 31 2009
where can I but the plants/seeds please
Elizabeth H.
Claire Tue Apr 28 2009
If you are in the UK you should be able to find them on EBay (I've noticed people listing them for the last 3 months or so). Some garden centres here may have them too in the herb section (that's where I bought mine).
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