Garlic Chives
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Garlic Chives
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Garlic chives, Chinese leeks, Chinese chives, Fragrant Onion • Manipuri: ꯃꯔꯣꯏ ꯅꯥꯀꯨꯞꯄꯤ মরোঈ নকুপ্পী Maroi nakuppi • Nepali: Dundu • Tangkhul: Namra • Mizo: Kham-pu-run • Angami: Themera
Botanical name: Allium tuberosum      Family: Amaryllidaceae (Nargis family)
Synonyms: Allium roxburghii, Allium sulvia

Garlic chives is bulbous herb commonly eaten as vegetable. Bulbs are cylindrical, 4-6 cm long, light brown, erect. Outer coat is net-veined fibrous. Leaves are 4-6 in number, linear, 1-4 mm broad, flat, shorter than the flowering stem. The flat leaves clearly distinguishes it from Chives which have hollow leaves, round in cross-section. The plant grows in a clump and the leaves bend down under their own weight. Flowers are borne in dense flowered umbels atop a leafless stem (scape). Flower-stalks are thread-like, 1-1.5 cm long. Tepals are elliptic, white to pink, 6 mm long, tip pointed to long-pointed. Each tepal has a brown stripe. Stamen filaments are shorter than the tepals, entire, inner ones broader, narrowly triangular. The subtle garlic flavor of Garlic Chives are perfect for use in uncooked dishes where raw regular garlic might be overwhelming or too spicy. Garlic chives is grown for its leaves, and not its little bulb. The finely chopped blades are great added to stir-frys and egg dishes. Called maroi nakuppi in Manipuri, garlic chives are very popular in Manipuri cooking. The unique flavor of garlic chives is both sweet and garlicky. Garlic chives is found in the Himalayas, NE India and China, up to altitudes of 2300-2600 m.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in cultivation in Delhi & Imphal.

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