Welsh Onion Plant (Onionrosporum vulgare) is one of the most common plants in the garden. They are native to Europe and Asia but they have been introduced into many countries around the world including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In fact there are so many varieties of them that it’s hard to keep track of all their different characteristics!
They are grown for their edible leaves, which are used in salads, soups and stews. They also make excellent garnishes or raw vegetables. They taste best when cooked with other ingredients such as tomatoes, peppers and garlic.
The plant grows up to 2 feet tall and wide and has dark green leaves that turn yellowish brown when ripe. The tops of the leaves can grow up to 5 inches long! The leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.
In the wild, these plants only grow in damp places like under rocks, stones and logs. When they were first brought to North America, they quickly spread throughout the area because of their adaptability. There are several species of Welsh Onion plants and each one has its own unique shape and size. Some are small shrubs while others grow up to 6 feet high!
These plants do not produce the typical bulb you’d expect to find on an onion plant. Instead, they have little bulblets on their roots that are similar in taste and texture to a real onion. The white flowers of the plant are also edible and have a nice flavor.
Welsh Onions grow wild in many parts of North America and Europe so it’s hard to control their growth. In the right conditions they can quickly spread throughout an area and choke out other plants. The USDA considers the plant to be invasive in some states including New York, Oregon, Washington and California.
In terms of nutrition, this food is highly nutritious. It is very low in calories but it is high in vitamins. One serving (3.5 ounces) of the leaves contains more than your daily requirements of vitamin A and C as well as vitamin K.
It also contains some calcium, magnesium and iron.
Did You Know?
Welsh Onions are a type of onion and they originated in the United Kingdom. They are not related to leeks and have a much stronger flavor than the typical onion.
These plants were first brought to North America by British settlers in the 17th century. They quickly escaped into the wilderness and have been growing wild ever since. The first written account of them in North America was by a man named John Lawson who wrote about them in his book “A new voyage to Carolina”.
There are many types of Welsh Onions and some of them have different names. For example, the Ramp is a type of wild onion that has a distinctive smell and is popular in the Southern United States. The Tree Onion is a type of wild onion that is grown for its edible bulb. It can grow up to 4 feet high!
The plants have their own predators to keep their numbers under control. For example, the larvae of some types of butterflies feed exclusively on these plants. Some types of beetles also enjoy eating them.
Perennials: What’s the difference?
Most plants are classified as annuals, perennials or biennials. However, there are lots of exceptions to this and even some wannabe’s! Here are some definitions to clear up the confusion…
Annual: Plants that last only one year and then die. They germinate from seeds, bloom and then set seed again all within one growing season.
Biennial: Plants that last two years, flowering the second year and then dying. After they bloom the first time they only grow leaves the first year and then take a hiatus (a long sleep) during the winter.
Perennial: Plants that are alive for more than two years and then die. They regerminate from a living piece of tissue and continue to live for many years until they are killed by extreme conditions (such as an Ice Age).
Wannabe’s: Some plants try to be something they are not. These pretenders or wannabe’s, will last several years and then take a long rest or “hibernate”. However, they are not truly perennial because, if you take away their long winter’s nap they will die the next season.
Companion Plants: What grows with what?
Think of plants as people in a small community. It’s kind of like high school! There are the “populars”, the “outsiders”, the “geeks” and so on. Everyone has their place and certain plants have certain plants that they get along with and others they don’t. This is known as companion planting and it’s the process of putting things together that go well together and separating the things that don’t.
Here are some common companion plant combinations:
If you plant things that have the same requirements close together, such as Sun Lovers (things that love lots of sun), they help each other because they make each others lives easier.
Plant a Patch of Parsnips and Carrots together: The Carrots will survive the hot summer weather because the Parsnip’s will shade them during the hottest part of the day. It also helps keep the ground cooler and hold the moisture in.
Plant a Border of Beans and Celery: The Beans will help the Celery grow larger stalks because they fix nitrogen in the soil.
Plant a Ring of Radishes: The Radishes will help the main crop survive because their leaves will shade the ground around the main stem.
Plant a File of Cucumbers: The Cucumbers will help prevent weeds from growing by using them up first.
Plant a Rope of Onions: The Onions will help hold the soil around the roots of other plants, especially things that have shallow roots such as lettuce.
Sources & references used in this article:
Cold tolerance and winter cultivation of Welsh onions by W Liu, H Su, K Xu – … -IHC2006: II International Symposium on Plant …, 2006 – actahort.org
Bacterial Blight of Welsh Onion : A New Disease Caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. allii pv. nov. by I Kadota, K Uehara, H Shinohara… – Journal of General Plant …, 2000 – Springer
Small Sclerotial Rot of Welsh Onion (Allium fistulosum) Caused by Botrytis squamosa Walker by T Takeuchi, N Minegishi, K Sakai… – Japanese Journal of …, 1998 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Simple and rapid detection of garlic latent virus from Welsh onions by gelatin particle agglutination test by M FUKAMI, KT NATSUAKI, F MOTOYOSHI… – Japanese Journal of …, 1989 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Development of Welsh Onion Harvester for Tractor by S Hong, K Lee, Y Cho, W Park – Journal of Biosystems …, 2014 – e-sciencecentral.org