are all alliums edible?

Mark McDonough
Thu, 03 Dec 2009 15:21:12 PST
Diane Whitehead <> asked:
>You've made it sound as though alliums are not all edible.  Do you  
>know of any that should NOT be eaten? 

From a previous PBS posting of mine in 2005:…

"I searched in vain this evening for the proper reference that I know I have, 
but there was a study done in the 1950s or 1960s, I believe done by Harold E. 
Moore and published in Baileya (a journal of horticultural taxonomy, part of 
Cornell University), that states that all allium are edible, although not all 
are palatable.  There's lots of information on Allium species being used as a 
food source by indigenous populations, in most of the Northern hemisphere, 
numbering well over 100 species out of the family total of approximately 850 taxa 
now recognized.  It's interesting that there are whole sections of the genus 
allium, where the plants have no onion smell at all (perhaps these are the 
unpalatable ones?)."

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, near the New Hampshire border, USDA Zone 5

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