Chinese Onion
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Chinese Onion
P Naturalized Photo: Kanshouwa Susie
Common name: Chinese Onion, Naga garlic, Chinese scallion, Glittering chive, Japanese scallion, Kiangsi scallion • Chinese: Jiaotou • Japanese: Rakkyo • Tangkhul: Somri • Mizo: Thip-pu-run • Angami: Khova
Botanical name: Allium chinense    Family: Amaryllidaceae (Nargis family)
Synonyms: Allium bakeri, Allium exsertum, Allium splendens

Chinese Onion is a perennial herrb, up to 0.5 m tall and producing evergreen bulbs. Flowers are lavender in color with long flower-stalks, thick tepals and long-exerted styles and stamens. Flowers are borne in umbels of reddish purple flowers on a stalk 40-60 cm long. It has hollow bright green leaves, grows in clumps and forms many well developed bulbs. Leaves are slender and thin-walled, 3-5 angled, not round, and less stiffly erect, having solid flowering stem. In hill areas of Manipur, the inflorescences are eaten raw with dry beef Ringneokashai or eaten in boiled vegetable soup. The bulbs and cloves are pickled in NE India, where it is popularly called Naga garlic. Chinese Onion is also known for insects and moles repelling characteristics, while its extract is used for moth control. Chinese Onion is native to China, cultivated and naturalized in the Himalayas. It is cultivated in many east Asian countries.
Medicinal uses: In traditional Chinese medicine, plant bulbs of Jiaotou are reputed to cure mental stress, heart problems, and tumors etc., and are also incorporated in several medicinal preparations.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Machi Village & Imphal, Manipur.

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