Jimbur (Allium wallichii )

Botanical Name : Allium wallichii
Family : Alliaceae
Genus : Allium
Species: wallichii
Other Names : Allium wallichii Liliaceae Allium, Ornamental Onion, Jimbu, Dzimbu
English Name: Allium, Ornamental Onion, Jimbu, Dzimbu seeds.
Common name: Himalaya Onion, Jimbur

Habitat : E. Asia – W. China to the Himalayas. Forest clearings and shrubberies, fully open to the monsoon rains, 2800 – 4300 metres from Pakistan to S.W. China.

Description:
Himalaya Onion is a deciduous bulb that grows to 1.0 meters high by 0.5 meters wide. It grows in Himalyan foothills between 2300-6600 m. It sports hemispheric umbels of purple flowers. In Nepal, Himalaya onion is often used for cooking, especially for flavouring dal (lintal) boiled legumes. Rather uniquely, jimbu leaves are usually employed in the dried state and fried in butter fat to develop their flavour.

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It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.

A large genus of bulbous plants, most of which have a distinctive smell of garlic (onions, leeks, chives, and garlic are all members). However, many are worth growing for their flowers and, unless the foliage is broken, the odour is seldom offensive. Easily raised from seed.

With papery, magenta to purple reflexed flowers, it is much used for medicinal purposes and as a spice, so much so that it is in danger of being over-harvested. The aromatic leaves, with a strong distinctive flavour, are used dried in small quantities to flavour soups, vegetables and meat dishes.

The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant,  it prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of Britain, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c It succeeds outdoors in N.W. England where it sets seed. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

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Propagation:-
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. 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. Grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in spring once they are growing vigorously and are large enough. Division in spring. The plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season, pot up the divisions in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are growing well and then plant them out into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.

Young leaves – cooked as a vegetable. The dried leaves are used as a condiment in curries and pickles. Bulb – raw or cooked. Poorly developed and rather small. The cloves are used as a substitute for garlic. Flowers – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Medicinal Uses
The bulbs, boiled then fried in ghee, are eaten in the treatment of cholera and dysentery. The raw bulb is chewed to treat coughs and colds. It is said that eating the bulbs can ease the symptoms of altitude sickness. Members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system.

Other Uses:
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Allium+wallichii
http://www.chilternseeds.co.uk/chilternseeds/moreinfo/d/allium+wallichii/pid/9368609
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Himalaya%20Onion.html
http://www.srgc.org.uk/bulblog/log2005/140905/log.html

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