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Garlic Chives (Allium tuberosum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Garlic Chives
Allium tuberosum

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is antibacterial, cardiac, depurative, digestive, stimulant, stomachic and tonic[61, 174, 218]. It is an anti-emetic herb that improves kidney function[238]. It is used internally to treat urinary incontinence, kidney and bladder weaknesses etc[238].

    The seed is carminative and stomachic[218]. They are used in India in the treatment of spermatorrhoea[240].

    The leaves and the bulbs are applied to bites, cuts and wounds[218].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[1, 15, 46, 52, 88]. A mild flavour, somewhat like a cross between garlic and chives[K], they are delicious in salads[183]. The flavour is destroyed by lengthy cooking[238]. The leaves are available from early spring until late in the autumn[K]. They contain about 2.6% protein, 0.6% fat, 2.4% carbohydrate, 0.95% ash. They also contain small amounts of vitamins A, B1 and C[179]. The rather small bulbs are about 10mm in diameter and are produced in clusters on a short rhizome[200].

    Flowers and flower buds – raw or cooked[52, 88, 183]. A delicious flavouring and pretty garnish for the autumn salad bowl[K].

    Root – raw or cooked.

    An edible oil is obtained from the seed[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    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[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. The seed has a fairly short viability and should not be used when more than 1 year old[206]. 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. Plant out in late summer if the plants have developed sufficiently, otherwise plant them out the following spring. Division in early spring. Very easy, the plants divide successfully at almost any time of the year. The divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required.
An easily grown plant[203], it prefers a sunny position in a rich moist but well-drained soil[1, 88]. Tolerates most soils[52, 88], including clay[203, 206]. Tolerant of dry soils, established plants also resist drought[190]. Tolerates some shade, even in N.W. England[203]. The roots penetrate up to 50cm into the soil[206]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. This plant succeeds in temperate and tropical climates[90]. It appears to be fully hardy in Britain[90]. Plants tolerate 40 degrees of frost in Manchuria (the report does not say if this is fahrenheit or centigrade)[206]. Plants remain green until temperatures fall below 4 – 5¡c, they come into new growth in spring when temperatures go above 2 – 3¡c[206]. Often cultivated for its edible leaves and bulb in the Orient, there are many named varieties[90, 183]. There are two main types of cultivar, one is grown for its leaves and the other for its flowering stem[200, 206].This species is being increasingly grown as a garden vegetable in Britain[K]. A very ornamental plant, it grows well as an edging plant in the flower garden[K]. Closely related to A. ramosum[203]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. 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].
E. Asia? Original habitat is obscure.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.