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Allium tuberosum


Allium tuberosum Rottler ex Spreng.

Family Name: Amaryllidaceae
Synonyms: Allium argyi, Allium roxburghii, Allium tricoccum, Allium uliginosum, Allium clarkei
Common Name: Garlic Chives, Chinese Leeks, Chinese Chives, Flat Chives, Oriental Garlic, 韭菜


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Herbaceous Plant
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.4 m to 0.6 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.3 m to 0.6 m


Native Distribution SW China, Southeast Asia
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Disturbed Area / Open Ground)
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Perennial herb with a grass-like growth habit.
Foliage Leaves green or grayish-green, flat, linear and pointed (0.3 - 0.4 m long and 0.5 -1 cm wide). Leaves have parallel venation. Leaves tend to bend over rather than remain erect.
Flowers Flowers white or creamy white, bisexual and star-shaped. Sepals look like petals. Flowers arranged in an inflorescence known as a rounded umbel (5 - 7 cm wide). Floral stalks grow to a height of 0.3 - 0.6 m. Flowers produce a fragrance similar to that of violets.
Fruits Fruits are capsules, initially dark green and becoming beige and papery at maturity. Each capsule contains 3 black seeds. Seeds are ovate, rounded at the base and pointed at the tip (4 mm long, 3 mm wide at the base).
Habitat In Illinois (USA), it was observed to naturalize in a meadow and along the edge of a ditch. In some areas in Europe and North America, it is considered an invasive weed.
Cultivation Plant in well-drained, fertile, loamy soil (pH = 5 - 8). Individuals should be spaced 7 - 15 cm apart. To prevent excessive spread of the plant, remove the inflorescence before it sets seed. It will grow well in the same location without replanting for several years. It is resistant to pests and diseases. However, the plant is susceptible to fungal diseases when planted in waterlogged soils or dense populations. Propagate by seed or by dividing the rootball. Plants should be divided every 3 - 4 years due to its fast growth.
Etymology The genus name “Allium” is Latin for garlic. The species epithet “tuberosum” is a reference to this species's thick rhizome.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves, Edible Flowers, Edible Stems)
Food (Herb and Spice : Flowers, flower stalks, leaves and bulbs are all edible. Leaves of garlic chives may be consumed raw in salads or added to stir-fries, soups and dishes with egg or fish. It has a sweet flavor that is similar to garlic. Garlic chives contain many nutrients and minerals, such as vitamin C, carotene, calcium and iron.)
Medicinal ( Garlic chives are used in Chinese traditional medicine to cure people who suffer from fatigue or have been poisoned. Leaves and bulbs are used to heal cuts and wounds, as they are thought to reduce bleeding.)
[Others]: The plant is thought to repel insects and moles.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Sometimes used in flowerbeds for its ornamental flowers. Also used along the edges of paths and gardens or as a groundcover.
Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Foliage)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Fertile Loamy Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Disease / Pest Resistant, Shallow Media (8 -10cm)
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Fragrant / Aromatherapy Garden, Economic Garden, Naturalistic Garden
Usage Hazard - Cons Invasive / Potentially Invasive

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Fauna Pollination Dispersal Associated Fauna Butterfly Food Plant
Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Butterfly, Moth))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic (Gravity)

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Fast
Maintenance Requirements Low
Propagation Method Seed, Division


Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Linear)
Foliar Venation Parallel
Foliar Margin Entire
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Truncate / Square
Typical Foliar Area Notophyll ( 20.25cm2 - 45 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Fibrous Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Cream / Off-White, White
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Inflorescence Type Umbel

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Dehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule

Image Repository



Master ID 30638
Species ID 4947
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 24 February 2022.