Kuchai / Kuchay / Kutsai is a native of China and Japan. It is cultivated in Manila and its environs by the Chinese. Its introduction in the Philippines is uncertain; but must have been in early times.
Kuchai is a kind of leek, ranked-scented, green, growing from 20 to 40 centimeters high. The bulbs are small, white and clustered. The leaves are green, grasslike, very narrowly linear, flattish, 15 to 30 centimeters long, and 3 to 6 millimeters wide. The umbel ha many or few white flowers. The perianth is bell-shaped. The fruits are on pedicels of 2 to 3 centimeters in length, obovoid, 3 –lobed, 5 to 7 millimeters in diameter. The seeds are black, depressed, globose or reniform, 2.5 to 3 millimeters in diameter. The plant seldom flowers in the Philippines.
Both leaves and young scapes are used to flavor vegetables, meat, and seafoods. It can also be eaten raw, blanced or sauteed. Its medical uses include treatment of wounds, stomach ache, tumors, intestinal disorders, and scabies.
Kuchai is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. The leaves are mainly used for the preparation of Chinese dishes, and often cooked with liver.
Externally the fresh leaves and bulbs are used as an antiseptic and vulnerary. The leaves when taken internally, according to Stuart, act as a cordial. Mensut reports that the whole plant is used in Indo-China as a diuretic.
ALLIUM ODORUM Linn. KUCHAI
Allium porrum Merr. non Linn.
Allium tuberosum Roxb.
Allium angulosum Lour. non Linn.
Allium tricoccum Blanco non Ait.
Local names: Kuchai (Tag.); ganda (Bis.); pererro (Sp.); kieu-tsai, kutsai (Chinese).