Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used throughout its history for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Within the species, Allium sativum, there are two main subspecies or varieties. Allium sativum var. ophioscorodon, called Ophioscorodon, or hard necked garlic, includes porcelain garlics, rocambole garlic, and purple stripe garlics. It is sometimes considered to be a separate species, Allium ophioscorodon. Allium sativum var. sativum, or soft-necked garlic, includes artichoke garlic, silverskin garlic, and creole garlic. 1


Did you know?

(click each item for answer)


Origin of Garlic
The Garlic Crescent in central asia
Most unusual place where garlic bulbs have been found
Tutankhamen’s Tomb
First time garlic was used in cooking
3150 BC
Earliest garlic garden in Toronto
Location of earliest known cooking with garlic in Toronto
Fort York
When to plant garlic
Fall (in Canada)
When to harvest garlic
July (in Canada)
Number of acres of garlic grown in Ontario
Number of strains of garlic grown in Ontario
“Music” strain as percentage of total Ontario garlic production
Hottest-tasting variety of garlic
Percentage of world’s garlic produced by China
Percentage of Canada’s garlic imported from China