Allium fistulosum L. (Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion) is a perennial onion. Other names that may be applied to this plant include green onion, spring onion, escallion, and salad onion. These names are ambiguous, as they may also be used to refer to any young green onion stalk, whether grown from Welsh onions, common bulb onions, or other similar members of the genus Allium. (see scallion) The species is very similar in taste and odor to the related bulb onion, Allium cepa, and hybrids between the two (tree onions) exist. The Welsh onion, however, does not develop bulbs, and possesses hollow leaves ("fistulosum" means "hollow") and scapes. Large varieties of the Welsh onion resemble the leek, such as the Japanese 'negi', whilst smaller varieties resemble chives. Many Welsh onions can multiply by forming perennial evergreen clumps.   Next to culinary use, it is also grown in a bunch as an ornamental plant.
Historically, the Welsh onion was known as the cibol.
The name "Welsh onion" has become a misnomer in modern English, as Allium fistulosum is not indigenous to Wales. "Welsh" preserves the original meaning of the Old English word "welisc", or Old German "welsche", meaning "foreign" (compare wal- in "walnut", of the same etymological origin). The species originated in Asia, possibly Siberia or China.
Welsh onion is used in Russia in the spring for adding green leaves to salads.
The Welsh onion is an ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially in East and Southeast Asia. It is particularly important in China, Japan, and Korea, hence the other English name for this plant, 'Japanese bunching onion'. Bulb onions were introduced to East Asia in the 19th century, but A. fistulosum remains more popular and widespread.
Known as escallion, the Welsh onion is an ingredient in Jamaican cuisine, in combination with thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, garlic and allspice (called pimenta). Recipes with escallion sometimes suggest leek as a substitute in salads. Jamaican dried spice mixtures using escallion are available commercially.
The Jamaican name is probably a variant of scallion, the term used loosely for the spring onion and various other plants in the genus Allium.
- ^ Floridata: Allium fistulosum
- ^ Thompson, Sylvia (1995). The Kitchen Garden. Bantam Books.
- ^ Ward, A: The Encyclopedia of Food and Beverage, New York, 1911. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
- ^ a b Fritsch, R.M.; N. Friesen (2002). "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy". In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah. Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. pp. 18. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.
- ^ "Ministry of Agriculture and Lands Standard Specification for Escallion". Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Jamaica. April 1987 (revised June 1999). http://www.moa.gov.jm/about/departments/standards/escallion_booklet.pdf. Retrieved August 20, 2010.