Allium tuberosum Rottler ex Sprengel

Allium tuberosum Rottler ex Sprengel




Allium odorum auct., non L., Allium uliginosum G. Don, Allium senescens Miq.

Vernacular Names




Chinese chives.




Kutsay (Tagalog), ganda (Bisaya), amput di imayyaw (Ifugao).




Kuichai (Bangkok), hom-paen (Northern).



Geographical Distributions

Allium tuberosum is believed to have originated in China, where it was certainly grown in the 10th Century and probably even as early as 200 BC. It grows wild in the central and northern parts of Asia, and is cultivated in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Nepal, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.


Allium tuberosum is a perennial herb which forms dense clumps. It is 20-40 cm tall, with a prominently spreading rhizome from where thick, long and persistent roots emerge. The bulbs are indistinct, narrowly ovoid, measuring 15-20 mm x 15 mm and with several protective brown bulb­-coat leaves that break up into netted fibres.

There are 4-9 foliage leaves, which are distichous, linear, measuring 13-45 cm x 2-10 mm, flat above, slightly keeled below, not folded lengthwise and suberect or curved. There is 1 peduncle that arises from ground. It is com­pressed, with 2 longitudinal ribs, up to 50 cm long and solid.

The inflorescence is 3-5 cm in diametre, umbellate, many-flowered and without bulbils. The spathe is short, per­sistent and opens with 1-3 valves. The pedicels are 14-35 mm long and subequal. The flowers are white, widely opened, star-like and slightly fragrant. The tepals are oblong to ovate and measure 6 mm x 3 mm. The stamens and pistil are up to the length of the tepals.

The fruit is obovoid, measures 5-6 mm long and wide.

The seed is irregularly depressed spherical, measures 3-4 mm long and black.

Ecology / Cultivation

The optimum temperature for Allium tuberosum is about 20°C. In Indonesia, it is grown in the highlands up to 2200 m altitude on fertile and loose soils. Under tropical conditions, growth is not interrupted by dormancy or by flowering. Nevertheless, flowering occurs in cultivars grown in Malaysia and Thailand, and the markets are commonly supplied with inflorescences as well. Flowering can be induced by using incandescent light to create artificial long days.

Line Drawing / Photograph



  1. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No.8: Vegetables.