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Botanical Name: Allium thunbergii
Species: A. thunbergii
*Allium arenarium Thunb.
*Allium bakeri var. morrisonense (Hayata) T.S.Liu & S.S.Ying
*Allium bakeri var. morrisonense (Hayata) Tang S. Liu & S.S. Ying
*Allium cyaneum f. stenodon (Nakai & Kitag.) Kitag.
Common Names: Thunberg’s chive
Habitat : Allium thunbergii is native to Japan (incl Bonin + Ryukyu Islands), Korea, and China (incl. Taiwan). It grows at elevations up to 3000 m. The Flora of China recognizes A. tunbergii and A. stenodon as separate species, but more recent sources combine the two.
Allium thunbergii produces one or two egg-shaped bulbs up to 20 mm in diameter. Scapes are up to 50 cm tall. Leaves are longer than the scape, hollow, triangular in cross-section. Umbels are crowded with many red or purple flowers. It is in flower from Sep to November.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are 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. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil. Plants are not hardy in the colder areas of Britain, they tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply. Most members of this genus are intolerant of competition from other growing plants. There is at least one named variety, selected for its ornamental value. ‘Ozawa’ is smaller than the type, growing to 30cm. 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.
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. 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 Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Young plants and leaves – raw or cooked in soups etc. The raw leaves have a pleasant mild onion flavour and a good fibre-free texture. Bulbs – cooked. They can be pickled in brine, vinegar and syrup. The bulbs are up to 2cm in diameter. Flowers – raw. A pleasant mild onion flavour, they make an attractive garnish in salads etc.
Although no 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.
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.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.