Herb: Chinese Chives


Latin name: Allium ramosum


Synonyms: Allium odorum


Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)



Medicinal use of Chinese Chives:

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.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Bulb


Height:
50 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
July to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Meadows and grassy slopes. Sunny hills and pastures at elevations of 500 - 2100 metres in northern China.

Edible parts of Chinese Chives:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The small bulbs are about 10mm in diameter. Leaves - raw or cooked. The flavour is somewhat between that of garlic and chives. An excellent taste, the leaves have a pleasant sweetness mixed with a strong onion flavour. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads.

Other uses of the herb:

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

Propagation of Chinese Chives:

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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Meadows and grassy slopes. Sunny hills and pastures at elevations of 500 - 2100 metres in northern China.

Known hazards of Allium ramosum:

Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.