A year in the life of the Persian Shallot

I bought my original plant  as Allium hirtifolium,  a perennial ornamental onion, only later having it identified by my onion friend Wietse Mellema as Allium altissimum, one of at least three botanical species mostly wild collected in West Asia as Persian Shallot (mooseer). Wikipedia: “Most of those eaten are harvested from the wild, sliced, dried, and sold at markets. Buyers will often soak the shallots for a number of days then boil them to obtain a milder flavour. They are often crushed and mixed with yogurt.”
The yield in my garden has been amazing; I’ve given up growing ordinary shallots as the yield is poor…. However, I don’t know yet how quickly these bulbs grow from seed. I’ve therefore collected seed this year…if they grow as quickly as I think they do, this could be one of the best perennial bulb onions for cold climates (and edimental as a bonus)!  Here’s an album of pictures of this very tall Allium (altissimum means tallest!). Other species known as Persian Shallot are A. stipitatum and A. hirtifolium.

Today, 28th February 2015, the lovely pink-tipped shoots are appearing:





18 thoughts on “A year in the life of the Persian Shallot”

    1. I can only see snow on the mountains and there’s no frost in the ground either in parts of the garden. I prepared a bed and sowed carrots and parsnips earlier on! It’s April, one month early….

  1. Hello I’m very interested in growing Persian shallots stipitatum,do you know where I can purchase them I am in the uk ty

    1. Allium stipitatum is one of the commonly sold bulbs in garden centres in the UK in the autumn. Mount Everest is one cultivar, although have no experience of that one. Google the species and purchase and lots of pages come up. You’ll also find it in RHS Plant Finder!

  2. Persian shallot mostly cultivated in Hamedan , is peerless !very tasty in yoghurt as a side dish with meat and drinks ,dr. Shahram

    1. Thanks for this comment! Do you use the onions dried with the yoghurt or are they rehydrated and cooked first? What’s the name of this dish in Persian?
      Do you have any other information (even on Iranian web pages) about how they are cultivated (e.g, from seed or from bulbs?). Do you know a source of the variety which is cultivated. I would be very interested to grow that one in my Allium garden at the botanical garden in Trondheim!


  3. I am growing these in London (UK). They are indeed looking very robust and I am hoping for a good crop. When the stalks turn brown and they start to fall in late Summer, that would seem to be harvest time. I’ll eat some fresh and I’ll dry some. Do I harvest only about 25% to allow them to regrow next year as a sort of perennial? I think I read that somewhere? BTW, mine are “Allium Mount Everest” and “Allium Violet Beauty”, both purchased from “J. Parker Dutch Bulbs”. The idea to grow them came from James Wong’s book “Grow for Flavour”.

    1. Cool! You’ll probably find that there is a mix of bulb sizes, so you can just harvest the bigger ones! I haven’t experimented with an optimal harvesting strategy in mind! Let me know how you get on!

    2. I didn’t know that James Wong had written about these. Any chance of a picture or scan of the relevant page(s)?

  4. Stephen, do you know if these work well under deciduous trees? I noticed this year that my ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Mount Everest’ alliums have tasty large leaves that disappeared fast, but I didn’t pay enough attention to them to note when they receded compared to other large leafed spring ephemerals like ramps. I will pay much more attention next year and do some experiments with positioning them when I lift and divide them.

  5. Can these be planted in containers on a deck. I live in a townhouse and grow herbs and flowers, but wondering if the cold winters in Pennsylvania will allow for growing Persian shallots.

    1. I’ve no idea, but I think so! There’s only one way to find out. If you can pack around the containers with leaves or similar to protect the plant roots, it would be an advantage.

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Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden