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Allium tuberosum

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Allium tuberosum
Flowering garlic chives
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Subgenus: A. subg. Butomissa
A. tuberosum
Binomial name
Allium tuberosum
Rottler ex Spreng. 1825 not Roxb. 1832[1][2]
  • Allium angulosum Lour. 1790, illegitimate homonym not L. 1753
  • Allium argyi H.Lév.
  • Allium chinense Maxim 1859, illegitimate homonym not G.Don 1827
  • Allium clarkei Hook.f.
  • Allium roxburghii Kunth
  • Allium sulvia Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don
  • Allium tricoccum auct. non Blanco
  • Allium tuberosum Roxb. 1832, illegitimate homonym not Rottler ex Spreng. 1825
  • Allium tuberosum f. yezoense (Nakai) M.Hiroe
  • Allium uliginosum G.Don
  • Allium yesoense Nakai
  • Allium yezoense Nakai
  • Nothoscordum sulvia (Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don) Kunth

Allium tuberosum (garlic chives, Oriental garlic, Asian chives, Chinese chives, Chinese leek) is a species of plant native to the Chinese province of Shanxi, and cultivated and naturalized elsewhere in Asia and around the world.[1][4][5][6]



Allium tuberosum is a rhizomatous, clump-forming perennial plant growing from a small, elongated bulb (about 10 mm; 1332 inch, across) that is tough and fibrous.[7][6][8] Unlike either onion or garlic, it has strap-shaped leaves with triangular bases, about 1.5 to 8 mm (116 to 516 in) wide.[9] It produces many white flowers in a round cluster (umbel) on stalks 25 to 60 cm (10 to 24 in) tall.[4] It grows in slowly expanding perennial clumps, but also readily sprouts from seed. In warmer areas (USDA zone 8 and warmer), garlic chives may remain green all year round. In cold areas (USDA zones 7 to 4b), leaves and stalks completely die back to the ground, and resprout from roots or rhizomes in the spring.[10]

The flavor is more like garlic than chives.[9]



Originally described by Johan Peter Rottler, the species name was validly published by Curt Polycarp Joachim Sprengel in 1825.[2] A. tuberosum is classified within Allium in subgenus Butomissa (Salisb.) N. Friesen, section Butomissa (Salisb.) Kamelin, a group consisting of only A. tuberosum and A. ramosum L.,[11][12] which have been variously regarded as either one or two genetic entities.[13]

Distribution and habitat


Allium tuberosum originated in the Siberian–Mongolian–North Chinese steppes,[11] but is widely cultivated and naturalised. It has been reported as growing wild in scattered locations in the United States (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Nebraska, Alabama, Iowa, Arkansas, and Wisconsin).[14][15][16] However, it is believed to be more widespread in North America because of the availability of seeds and seedlings of this species as an exotic herb and because of its high aggressiveness. This species is also widespread across much of mainland Europe[17] and invasive in other areas of the world.[18]



A late summer- to autumn-blooming plant,[6] A. tuberosum is one of several Allium species known as wild onion and/or wild garlic that, in various parts of the world, such as Australia, are listed as noxious weeds or as invasive "serious high impact environmental and/or agricultural weeds that spread rapidly and often create monocultures".[14][18]



Often grown as an ornamental plant in gardens, several cultivars are available. A. tuberosum is distinctive by blooming later than most native or naturalised species of Allium.[15] It is cold-hardy to USDA zones 4–10 (−30 to +35 °F; −34 to 2 °C).[8] Garlic chives are regarded as easy to grow in many conditions and may spread readily by seeds or can be intentionally propagated by dividing their clumps.[19]

A number of varieties have been developed for either improved leaf (e.g. 'Shiva') or flower stem (e.g. 'Nien Hua') production.[20] While the emphasis in Asia has been primarily culinary, in North America, the interest has been more as an ornamental.[21] 'Monstrosum' is a giant ornamental cultivar.[22]


Garlic chives
Chinese name
Hanyu Pinyinjiǔ cài
Wade–Gileschiu3 ts'ai4
Romanizationkíu chhoi
Yale Romanizationgáu choi
Jyutpinggau2 coi3
Hokkien POJkú chhài
Tâi-lôkú tshài
Dunganese name
Vietnamese name
Thai name
Korean name
Revised Romanizationbuchu
Japanese name
Revised Hepburnnira
Kyrgyz name

Uses have included as ornamental plants, including cut and dried flowers, culinary herbs, and traditional medicine.[citation needed] Garlic chives have been widely cultivated for centuries in East Asia for their culinary value. The flat leaves, the stalks, and immature, unopened flower buds are used as flavouring.[23] Another form is "blanched" by regrowing after cutting under cover to produce white-yellow leaves and a subtler flavor.[24]



The leaves are used as a flavoring in a similar way to chives or scallions, and as a stir fry ingredient. They are often used in dumplings with eggs, shrimp, and/or pork. A Chinese flatbread similar to the scallion pancake may be made with garlic chives instead of scallions. Garlic chives are also one of the main ingredients used with yi mein dishes. Its flowers are fermented to make garlic chive flower sauce (韭花酱).

When the leaves of garlic chives are blanched by growing them in dark environments these are called jiuhuang (韭黄) or jiǔ cài huáng (韭菜黄), known in English as yellow garlic chives. These are considered a delicacy and are used in various stir fry dishes.[25]



In Manipur and other northeastern states of India, it is grown and used as a substitute for garlic and onion in cooking and is known as maroi nakuppi in Manipuri.[citation needed]



In Japan, where the plant is known as nira, it is used both for its garlic-like flavor and its sweetness, in miso soups and salads, stir-fries with eggs, and Japanese dishes such as gyōza dumplings and fried liver.[citation needed]

Central Asia


In Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, where the plant has been introduced through cultivation by Dungan farmers and ties with neighboring China, garlic chives are known by transliterations of their name. Used in cooking,[26] it is sometimes added as a filling to manty, samsa, laghman,[27] yuta, ashlan-fu,[28] and other typical dishes.



Known as buchu (부추), garlic chives are widely used in Korean cuisine. They can be eaten fresh as namul, pickled as kimchi and jangajji, and pan-fried in buchimgae (pancake). they are also one of the most common herbs served with gukbap (soup with rice), as well as a common ingredient in mandu (dumplings).[29]



In Nepal, cooks fry a curried vegetable dish of potatoes and A. tuberosum known as dunduko sag.[30]



In Vietnam, the leaves of garlic chives, known as hẹ, are cut up into short pieces and used as the only vegetable in a broth with sliced pork kidneys.[31]



  1. ^ a b c WCSPF 2015.
  2. ^ a b Linnaeus 1825.
  3. ^ TPL 2013.
  4. ^ a b Xu, Jiemei; Kamelin, Rudolf V. "Allium tuberosum". Flora of China. Vol. 24 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ "Allium tuberosum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture.
  6. ^ a b c PFAF 2012, Allium tuberosum – Rottler. ex Spreng..
  7. ^ RHS 2015.
  8. ^ a b Floridata 2015, Steve Christman. Allium tuberosum 12 December 2003.
  9. ^ a b McGee & Stuckey 2002.
  10. ^ Soule, J.A. (2016). Month by Month Guide to Gardening in the Southwest. Cool Springs Press.
  11. ^ a b Friesen, Fritsch & Blattner 2006.
  12. ^ Li et al. 2010.
  13. ^ Fritsch & Friesen 2003.
  14. ^ a b USDA 2015.
  15. ^ a b Hilty 2015.
  16. ^ "Allium tuberosum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  17. ^ Flora Italia 2014.
  18. ^ a b Randall 2007.
  19. ^ "Chinese chives - Encyclopedia of Life".
  20. ^ Larkcom & Douglass 2008, p. 80.
  21. ^ Mahr 2010.
  22. ^ Staudengärtnerei 2015.
  23. ^ Larkcom & Douglass 2008, p. 75.
  24. ^ Larkcom & Douglass 2008, p. 78.
  25. ^ Hu, Shiu-ying (2005). Food Plants of China. Chinese University Press. p. 53. ISBN 978-962-996-229-6.
  26. ^ "Cuisine of the Duncan (Hui) People". www.flavorandfortune.com. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  27. ^ "An Ode to Lagman". www.asia-travel.uz. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  28. ^ "Kyrgyzstan's Traditional Hangover Cure is a Mix of History and Assimilation". Matador Network. Retrieved 2022-03-21.
  29. ^ "부추로 만드는 요리 베스트 10" (Korean: Best 10 Recipes Using Garlic Chives). 만개의레시피 (Korean: 10,000 Recipes). Retrieved August 2023. https://www.10000recipe.com/bbs/1864
  30. ^ Majupuria 1993.
  31. ^ Vietnamese herbs 2015.



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