Overview

Brief Summary

Allium fistulosum (Welsh onion, Japanese bunching onion, or cibol) is a monocot perennial that originated in Asia. The species is also known as green onion, spring onion, escallion, and salad onion, but these names are ambiguous, as they may also refer to any young green onion stalk, whether grown from Welsh onions, common or bulb onions (Allium cepa), or other Allium species.

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, probably in the region of Mongolia, Siberia, or China. The species is not known in the wild, but the nearest wild relative appears to be A. altaicum, which is widespread in parts of Mongolia and Siberia.

The species is very similar in taste and odor to the bulb onion, A. cepa, and hybrids between the two exist. The Welsh onion, however, does not develop bulbs (or only small bulbs, A ampeloprasum), while smaller varieties may resemble chives (Allium schoenoprasum). Many Welsh onion varieties multiply by forming perennial evergreen clumps.

Welsh onion has both culinary and ornamental uses. In the West, it is primarily used as a scallion or salad onion, and is perhaps the species most commonly marketed for this purpose. In East Asia, it is used in diverse dishes including stirfries and soups, and remains more widespread and popular than the bulb onion (Fritsch and Friesen 2002). In Japan, four major groups of cultivars have been developed, based on their adaptation to the coolest, warmest, and intermediate climate ranges there, with the fourth group (yagura negi) used in home gardens (Brewster 2008).

The species has been reported as naturalized in Vermont, Illinois, Alaska, and parts of Canada, but is not categorized as a problem invasive species (USDA PLANTS 2011).

  • Brewster, J.L. 2008. Crop production science in horticulture, Volume 15: Onions and other vegetable Alliums. Wallingford, Oxon, Great Britain: CABI Publishing. 2nd ed.
  • Fritsch, R.M., and N. Friesen. 2002. "Chapter 1: Evolution, Domestication, and Taxonomy." In H.D. Rabinowitch and L. Currah, eds. Allium Crop Science: Recent Advances. Wallingford, UK: CABI Publishing. pp. 5–30. ISBN 0-85199-510-1.
  • USDA PLANTS 2011. “Allium fistulosum.” In U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PLANTS Database. Retrieved 7 October 2011 from http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALFI4.
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Listed in 1937 ed but not since reported from VT (Seymour, 1969). WI, IL (1 Co.).

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Bulb solitary or clustered, cylindric, rarely ovoid-cylindric, 1--2(--4.5) cm in diam.; tunic white, rarely pale red-brown, membranous to thinly leathery, entire. Leaves subequaling scape, 0.5--1.5 cm wide. Scape 30--50(--100) cm, terete, fistulose, covered with leaf sheaths for ca. 1/3 its length. Spathe 2-valved, persistent. Umbel globose, many flowered. Pedicels subequal, slender, 1--3 × as long as perianth, ebracteolate. Perianth white; segments ovate, 6--8.5 × 2.5--3 mm, apex acuminate, with a reflexed point; inner ones slightly longer than outer. Filaments equal, 1.5--2 × as long as perianth segments, connate at base and adnate to perianth segments. Ovary obovoid, with inconspicuous nectaries at base. Style exserted. Fl. and fr. Apr--Aug. 2 n = 16*.
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Description

Bulbs 2–12+, borne on short rhizome, cylindric, 2–5 × 1–2.5 cm; outer coats enclosing 1 or more bulbs, white to light brown, membranous, without reticulation; inner coats white, cells obscure, quadrate. Leaves persistent, 2–6, sheathing lower 1/4–1/3 of scape; blade terete, fistulose, 10–40 cm × 10–25 mm. Scape persistent, solitary, erect, fistulose, inflated in middle, tapering to umbel, (12–)15–70 cm × 8–25 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, compact, 50–100-flowered, globose to ovoid, bulbils unknown; spathe bracts persistent, 1–2, 1–3-veined, ovate, ± equal, apex acute. Flowers narrowly campanulate to urceolate, 6–9 mm; tepals erect, yellowish white, withering in fruit, margins entire, apex acute, outer lanceolate, inner narrowly ovate, unequal; stamens long-exserted; anthers white to yellow; pollen white; ovary crestless; style linear, equaling stamens; stigma capitate, obscurely 3-lobed; pedicel 10–30 mm. Seed coat shining; cells 4–6-angled, ± rectangular.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

Cultivated as a vegetable since ancient times [possibly native to W China, but no wild plants have been collected; widely cultivated elsewhere].
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Habitat & Distribution

Flowering Jul--Aug. Disturbed areas; introduced; N.W.T.; Alaska; cultivated in Europe, Asia.
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Associations

Foodplant / sap sucker
Neotoxoptera formosana sucks sap of Allium fistulosum

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
colony of sporangium of Peronospora destructor infects and damages live Allium fistulosum

Foodplant / parasite
uredium of Puccinia allii parasitises Allium fistulosum

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Allium fistulosum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Allium fistulosum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Wikipedia

Welsh onion

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. [1] [2] Next to culinary use, it is also grown in a bunch as an ornamental plant.

Historically, the Welsh onion was known as the cibol.[3]

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.

Contents

Culinary use

In the West, the Welsh onion is primarily used as a scallion or salad onion, but is widely used in other parts of the world, particularly East Asia.[4]

Russia

Welsh onion is used in Russia in the spring for adding green leaves to salads.

Asia

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.[4]

In Japan it is used in miso soup, negimaki (beef and scallion rolls), among others, and it is widely sliced up and used as a garnish, such as on teriyaki or takoyaki.

Jamaica

Known as escallion,[5] 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.

Image gallery

See also

References

  1. ^ Floridata: Allium fistulosum
  2. ^ Thompson, Sylvia (1995). The Kitchen Garden. Bantam Books. 
  3. ^ Ward, A: The Encyclopedia of Food and Beverage, New York, 1911. Retrieved January 5, 2007.
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ "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. 
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Notes

Comments

Allium fistulosum is cultivated in Europe and Asia. It is reported to have escaped in Alaska and is established near the north end of Great Slave Lake. The species is to be expected elsewhere in Canada and the northern United States.
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