Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walk Like an Egyptian Onion?

Liz, our master gardener, picked up these funky perennial plants at a Master Gardener plant swap. They are called "Egyptian Walking Onions." The plant grows straight up and sprouts a head of little onions. The weight of the clustered onions causes the stalk of the plant to bend down (or walk) and the little onions plant themselves and grow a new stalk. Fascinating!
It has been a lot of fun to watch, and the onions are very tasty, too! The cool part is you can eat either end of the plant and they re-seed themselves so you don't have to save the bulbs. Deadead if you don't want volunteer seedlings next year.
They are also called "tree onions." Their species name is "proliferum," but are very similar to "Allim cepa" (cultivated onion, garlic). Despite their name, they are actually thought to have originated in India or Pakistan and were later introduced to Europe by the Romans.

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