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Allium sativum (garlic)

Garlic is a strongly aromatic bulb that has long been used in cooking and medicine.
Allium sativum

Allium sativum (garlic)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Allium sativum L.

Common name: 

garlic (English); ajo (Spanish); ail (French); arishtha, lashuna (Sanskrit); lasan (Hindu and Gujarat); vellaipundu (Tamil).

Conservation status: 

Not considered to be threatened.


Rocky valleys, riverbeds, streambeds and gullies.

Key Uses: 

Food and drink, medicine, pest control.

Known hazards: 

Adverse effects including a burning sensation in the mouth and intestine, sickness, and odour from the breath and the body. Skin reactions have also been reported. Garlic may interfere with some prescribed medicines.


Genus: Allium

About this species

Garlic is a strongly aromatic bulb crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is renowned throughout the world for its distinctive flavour as well as its health-giving properties.

Garlic was domesticated long ago and is mentioned in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Indian, and Chinese writings. Garlic bulbs from about 1,500 BC were found in the tomb of Tutankhamen, and garlic is mentioned in the Bible and Qur’an.

Today, garlic is grown in temperate and tropical regions all over the world, and many cultivars have been developed to suit different climates.

Garlic, onions, leeks and chives are all members of the genus Allium, which comprises approximately 750 species. 


Porrum sativum (L.) Rchb., Allium controversum Schrad. ex Willd. (Full list available on the World Checklist).


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