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Useful Temperate Plants

Allium × proliferum

(Moench) Schrad. ex Willd.

Amaryllidaceae


Probably better known as Allium cepa proliferum, this species is now recognized as being of hybrid origin between Allium cepa and Allium fistulosum and has been renamed accordingly[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Allium × wakegii Araki

Allium cepa bulbiferum Regel

Allium cepa proliferum (Moench) Regel

Allium cepa var. viviparum (Metzg.) Alef.

Common Name: Tree Onion

Allium × proliferum
Bulbils on a plant in the Botanical Garden KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Photograph by: H. Zell
Creative Commons License
Allium × proliferum Allium × proliferum Allium × proliferum Allium × proliferum

General Information

Allium × proliferum is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing up to 10 leaves around 30cm long and a scape that can be up to 100cm tall from an underground bulb. The plant divides fairly freely, forming in time a cluster of bulbs[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. The scape of this species produces few if any flowers, instead it produces a cluster of small bulbs which can either be eaten or used for propagation.
The tree onion is often grown in gardens as a curiosity and food plant, producing edible bulbils, leaves and bulbs. The plant also has a range of medicinal and other uses.

Known Hazards

There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this plant. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
76
Title
Poisonous Plants in Britain and their Effects on Animals and Man.
Publication
 
Author
Cooper. M. and Johnson. A.
Publisher
HMSO
Year
1984
ISBN
0112425291
Description
Concentrates mainly on the effects of poisonous plants to livestock.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

Range

The plant is of hybrid origin and is not known as a truly wild species.

Habitat

Not known in the wild.

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *
HabitBulb
Height1.20 m
PollinatorsBees, Insects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details


Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
] but succeeds in most soils that are in good condition[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3.
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
].
Plants rarely if ever produce seed, instead the flowering head is comprised of a number of small onions or bulbils[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
]. This species is completely sterile and does not form fertile seeds[
451
Title
Flora Malesiana Series 1
Publication
 
Author
Various
Website
http://www.archive.org
Publisher
Nationaal Herbarium Nederiand, Universiteit Leiden branch
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A massive treatment of the plants of the Malaysian Archipelago. Much of it has been made available to download from the Internet
]. Plants are propagated by means of the bulbils or by dividing the main bulb that grows underground[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. By no means a heavily productive plant, though the bulbils are very well flavoured and the plant is fairly easily grown[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Its main problem is that slugs seem to be attracted to it and can eat to death even well-established plants[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The plant is said to be immune to onion root fly[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

The plant forms small bulbs at the top of the flowering stem, these can be eaten raw or cooked[
16
Title
New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
Publication
 
Author
Simons.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1977
ISBN
0-14-046-050-0
Description
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
,
33
Title
Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Publication
 
Author
Organ. J.
Publisher
Faber
Year
1960
ISBN
-
Description
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
]. They have a strong onion flavour and are often used as pickled onions or added to salads[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
As long as the bulbils are dried properly at harvest time, they store well[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulb can be up to 4cm in diameter and has a strong onion flavour[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Chopped into slices, it makes a good addition to salads and can also be used as a vegetable or as a flavouring in cooked foods[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Leaves - raw or cooked. A strong onion flavour, it makes a nice flavouring in salads though it should not be harvested in quantity because this would reduce the yield of bulbils[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. The leaves are produced from late autumn, though we have found that harvesting them at this time will often encourage diseases such as mildew[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Medicinal

Although rarely used specifically as a medicinal herb, the onion has a wide range of beneficial actions on the body and when eaten (especially raw) on a regular basis will promote the general health of the body.

The bulb is anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypoglycaemic, hypotensive, lithontripic, stomachic and tonic[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
21
Title
The Herb Book.
Publication
 
Author
Lust. J.
Publisher
Bantam books
Year
1983
ISBN
0-553-23827-2
Description
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
]. When used regularly in the diet it offsets tendencies towards angina, arteriosclerosis and heart attack[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It is also useful in preventing oral infection and tooth decay[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. Baked onions can be used as a poultice to remove pus from sores[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
Fresh onion juice is a very useful first aid treatment for bee and wasp stings, bites, grazes or fungal skin complaints[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
]. When warmed the juice can be dropped into the ear to treat earache[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
]. It also aids the formation of scar tissue on wounds, thus speeding up the healing process, and has been used as a cosmetic to remove freckles[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].
Allium species usually grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes[
18
Title
Companion Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B.
Publisher
Watkins
Year
1979
ISBN
-
Description
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
,
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
54
Title
How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Hatfield. A. W.
Publisher
Frederick Muller Ltd
Year
1977
ISBN
0-584-10141-4
Description
Interesting reading.
]. They are, in general, bad companions for alfalfa - each species negatively affecting the other[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Other Uses

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent and can also be rubbed onto the skin to repel insects[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

The plant juice can be used as a rust preventative on metals and as a polish for copper and glass[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

A yellow-brown dye is obtained from the skins of the bulbs[
141
Title
Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK.
Publication
 
Author
Carruthers. S. P. (Editor)
Publisher
Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading
Year
1986
ISBN
0704909820
Description
Some suggested alternative commercial crops for Britain. Readable. Produced by a University study group.
,
168
Title
Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Grae. I.
Publisher
MacMillan Publishing Co. New York.
Year
1974
ISBN
0-02-544950-8
Description
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
].

Onion juice rubbed into the skin is said to promote the growth of hair and to be a remedy for baldness[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
]. It is also used as a cosmetic to get rid of freckles[
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
].

The growing plant is said to repel insects and moles[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
]. A spray made by pouring enough boiling water to cover 1kg of chopped unpeeled onions is said to increase the resistance of other plants to diseases and parasites[
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].

Propagation

Harvest bulbils in late summer and replant immediately or store them in a cool dry frost-free place and plant them out in late winter or early spring.
Division of the bulbs after the leaves die down in late summer.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2021-07-26. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Allium+%C3%97+proliferum>

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