Rakkyo (Allium chinense)

Botanical Name :Allium chinense
Family     : Alliaceae
Genus: Allium
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Species: A. chinense
syn   : Allium bakeri Regel, Allium splendens Willd. ex Schult.f.
Vernacular Name :-Japanese:  Rakkyo,Chinese: pinyin: xiè, cu kieu in Vietnamese


Habitat :
E. Asia – China . Often cultivated, plants can be found wild on the edges of fields

Description:
An evergreen Bulb growing to 0.3m.
It is hardy to zone 7. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

Rakkyo is an onion relative. It is an important vegetable in the Orient and in this country is grown and used mainly by Orientals. The plants do not produce seeds and are propagated by bulb division. In mild climates, bulbs are planted in late summer, and the crop is harvested in midsummer of the following year. Several small bulbs are obtained from each bulb planted. Rakkyo bulbs are mainly pickled, some are canned.    Also, they are used as a cooked vegetable. The leaves have hollow blades. Culture and exposure of plant parts is similar to that of bulb-set onions.
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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.


Cultivation:

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil . Tolerates poor soils. Plants often die-back in hot weather mid-summer, coming back into growth in late summer and flowering in the autumn. The flowers seldom set seed in Britain. 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. This species is widely cultivated for its edible bulb and leaves, mainly in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of Japan, China and many other parts of eastern Asia . Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation :

The plants do not produce seeds and are propagated by bulb division. 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. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.

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

Bulb – raw or cooked. The bulb has an excellent crisp texture with a strong onion flavour, it can be 4 – 5cm in diameter, though it does not reach this size until the second or third year. It contains about 3.1% protein, 0.12% fat, 18.3% soluble carbohydrate, 0.7% ash. Leaves – raw or cooked. Flowers and young seedpods – raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

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Composition
Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.

Root (Fresh weight)
0 Calories per 100g
Water: 0%
Protein: 3.1g; Fat: 0.1g; Carbohydrate: 18.3g; Fibre: 0g; Ash: 0.7g;
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;


Medicinal Actions & Uses
Astringent; Carminative; Expectorant.

The whole plant is astringent, carminative and expectorant . It is used in the treatment of stuffiness sensation and pain in the chest, angina pectoris, pleurisy, bronchitis, diarrhoea and tenesmus in cases of dysentery.  Although no other specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, 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+chinense
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allium_chinense
http://www.crop.cri.nz/home/news/archives/2004/1085091586031.php
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/crops/Rakkyo.html

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