Welsh onion

Welsh onion

Allium fistulosum L., widely known as the Welsh onion, is a member of the onion family, Alliaceae. The species is very similar in taste and odor to the related garden 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.

Besides Welsh onion, Allium fistulosum is known as 'scallion', 'green onion', 'spring onion' and 'Japanese bunching onion'. It is known in French as 'ciboule', and in Portuguese as cebolinha or cozida. Historically, the Welsh onion was known as the 'cibol'.

The name 'Welsh onion' is 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". The species originated in Asia, possibly Siberia or China. Welsh onions are known as 葱 (simplified: 蔥) (pinyin: cōng) in Chinese, 葱 or ネギ in Japanese (the Japanese transliteration, 'negi', is another term for Welsh onions), 파 ('pa') in Korean and hành lá or hành ta in Vietnamese.


The Welsh onion is widely used in cooking. It is a particularly important ingredient in Asian cuisine, especially in East and Southeast Asia. It is used in Russia in the spring for adding green leaves to salads. In Japan it is used in miso soup, negimaki (beef and scallion rolls) and in the takoyaki dumpling dish, among others.

In Vietnam, Welsh onion is one of important ingredients to cook dưa hành (a kind of kimchi) served for Tết festival. A kind of sauce- mỡ hành (Welsh onion fried in oil) is used in some dished such as cơm tấm, bánh ít, cà tím nướng and others. Welsh onion is also the only ingredient in the dish cháo hành (a dish for treat the common cold) which became a symbol of awaking the human honest in the famous literature work: "Chí Phèo" written by Nam Cao.

It is often grown in a bunch as an ornamental plant.

It is also the object of spinning in the leekspin internet phenomenon.


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