Species Alliums being edible?

Mark McDonough antennaria@charter.net
Fri, 05 Apr 2013 06:11:51 PDT
Shmuel Silinsky <gardenbetter@gmail.com> wrote:

> There are many species of Allium native here in Israel. Some are 
> endemic. I
> am wondering if all are edible, both as leaf or as bulb.  Obviously 
> flavor
> will vary, even bitterness, but are any poisonous?
> I am especially interested in knowing about Allium aschersonium.  It 
> has a
> large bulb - and I would like to try it as an edible. A couple of 
> thousand
> years ago there were a lot more Alliums eaten here, and those that 
> need  no
> extra irrigation are of great interest.
> By the way, scallions are said to have been brought to Europe by 
> returning
> Crusaders and named for the city they grew near - Ashkelon.  At least 
> that
> is the tour guide story. I don't remember. I was too young.
> Shmuel Silinsky
> Jerusalem Israel
> Zone 9 wet winter - dry summer

The best way to answer the question, is that all Allium are edible, 
although not all are palatable.  An excellent reference addressing this 
question, although very technical, is "Garlic and Other Alliums - The 
Lore and The Science" published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, by 
Dr. Eric Block, Professor of Chemistry, University at Albany, SUNY, more 
information here:


...follow-up info on book here:

It should be noted that compounds and substances in onions are very 
complex, much has been studied about them.  While generally considered 
as healthful, too much of a good thing (over ingesting) can lead to some 
levels of inflamation/toxicity.

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

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