Allium fistulosum L.

Last updated: 02 April 2015

Scientific Name

Allium fistulosum L.


Allium bouddae Debeaux, Allium kashgaricum Prokh, Allium saxatile Pall. [Invalid], Cepa fissilis Garsault [Invalid], Cepa fistulosa (L.), Gray Cepa ventricosa Moench, Kepa fistulosa (L.) Raf. , Phyllodolon fistulosum (L.) Salisb. [Invalid], Porrum fistulosum (L.) Schur. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Daun bawang [2]
English Japenese buncing onion, spring onion [2] japenese leek, stone leek, Chinese spring onion, scallion, Chinese onion, tree onion [3] two bladded onion, green bunching onion, green trail, chinese small onion [4]
China Chong bai, ts’ung, hu ts’ung, hui hui ts’ ung, mu ts’ung [3]
Indonesia Bawang daun, bawang bakung (Sundanese); bawang oncang (Javanese) [2]
Thailand Horn-ton (Cen­tral); horn-chin (Peninsular)[2]
Philippines Buyah (Ifugao)[2]
Cambodia Khtüm sânlök [2]
Vietnam H[af]nh hoa, h[af]nh h[uwl [ow]ng [2] hanh , thong bach, hom bua, song, co xong,bua [3]
Korea Pa [4]
Japan Negi [3][4]
Taiwan Chung [4]
Netherlands Pijplook, bieslook, indische prei [4]
France Ciboule [2][3] onion de strasburg [4]
Germany Rohtenlaunch, winter zwiebel [4]
Spain Cebola, ceboletta [4].

Geographical Distributions

Allium fistulosum is probably originated in north-western China, although its ancestry remains unknown. This plant is adapted to a remarkably wide range of climates. It is very tolerant of cold weather and can overwinter even in Siberia. It is also tolerant of hot humid conditions as e.g. in Bangladesh. In Java, it grows well above an altitude of 200 m, but it is more common above 500 m. [2]

Botanical Description

Allium fistulosum comes from the family of Liliaceae, and is a gregarious, perennial herb that often grows in large tufts. It is usually cultivated as an annual or biennial plant. The bulb is indistinct, ovoid to oblongoid, measures up to 10 cm long and gradually passing into a more or less thick scape. There are few to several lateral bulbs which are virtually absent in some cultivars, narrow and inconspicuous. [2]

The several protective bulb-coat leaves are papery, smooth, reddish, purplish or brownish. There is 1 sprout leaf and oblique apex [2].The foliage leaves are bluish-green with light bloom, distichous, hairless, in 4-6 in bunching types and in 10-12 in single stem types. There are usually 3-6 active growing green leaves with cylindrical tapering blades. They are scattered in the lower part of the scape, measuring (10-)30-150 cm x 1.0-2.5 cm, hollow, top acute and circular in cross section. There is 1 peduncle that exceeds the leaves, erect, straight without localised swelling, hollow and measures 8-25 mm broad. [2]

The inflorescence is umbellate, hemispherical to spherical, measures 3-7 cm across, and composed either of flow­ers or of bulbils only. [2]

The flowering is centrifugal. There is 1 spathe, which is almost transparent, persistent, measures up to 10 mm long, acuminate and with (1-)2-3 slits open into spathe valves. The bracteoles are absent. The pedicels are almost equal to unequal where the lower ones are shortest and measure 10-30 mm long. The flowers are narrowly bell-shaped to urn-shaped. There are 6 tepals, which are ovate-oblong to oblong-Iance-shaped, measure 6-10 mm long, smooth, (greenish)white, with greenish midvein and top acuminate. There are 6 stamens with exceeding perianth. The inner and outer filaments are similar, measure 8-15 mm long, simple and narrow. The yellow anthers are 1.5 mm long. The pistil is rather long and with exceeding perianth. The ovary is spherical to broadly obovate. The style is 10-15 mm long and slender. [2]

The fruit is spherical and measures about 5 mm across. [2]

The black seed measures 3-4 mm x 2-2.5 mm. [2]


Cultivation of A. fistulosum dates back to at least 200 BC in China. It reached Japan be­fore 500 AD and spread further to Southeast Asia. The earliest description of the crop and its cultivation is found in a Chinese book of 100 BC. It is first mentioned in Japanese literature in 720 AD. Until the early 20th Century, A. fistulosum was the most important Allium species in these countries, fulfilling the culinary role of both the common onion and leek in Europe. In Japan, A. fistulosum is now second in importance to A. cepa L. However in China, where A. fistulosumand com­mon onion are used in different dishes, A. fistulosum has retained its first place. The crop is grown throughout the world, but the main area of cultivation remains to be in East Asia from Siberia to In­donesia. In other parts of the world, it is mainly a crop of home garden. [2]

There are many local selections and com­mercial cultivars, reflecting the adaptation to this wide range of climatic conditions. Most cultivars are well-adapted to variations in rainfall and more tolerant of heavy rainfall than other Allium spp. A well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter is preferred. Allium fistulosum is very susceptible to waterlogging, which quickly kills the active roots. Es­tablished plants are very tolerant of moisture stress and drought rarely kills them. For optimal growth, a neutral soil pH is required, but even at a pH of 8-10, good growth is possible. In acidic soils, growth is generally poor. [2]

Chemical Constituent

No documentation

Plant Part Used

No documentation

Traditional Use

No documentation

Preclinical Data

No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation


No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1 : The line drawing of A. fistulosum L. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1 Allium fistulosum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2015 April 2] Available from:
  2. Sulistiarini D, Djamal J, Raharjo I. Allium fistulosum L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher; 1999. p. 98-99.
  3. Umberto Q. CRC world dictionary of plant names: common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1999. p. 91
  4. Haim D, Rabinowitch, Brewster JL. Onions and Allied Crops: Biochemistry Food Science Minor Crops, Volume 3. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 1989. p. 160.