name = "Allium"
image_width = 250px
image_caption = Allium species from Russia
phylum = Magnoliophyta
genus = "Allium"
genus_authority = L.
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = Some important species:
Allium acuminatum" - tapertip onion
Allium ampeloprasum" - (Broadleaf) wild leek
:"A. a." var. "ampeloprasum" -
:"A. a." var. "kurrat" -
:"A. a." var. "porrum" - leek
Allium anceps" - twinleaf onion
Allium angulosum" - mouse garlic
Allium aflatunense" - purple sensation
Allium atrorubens" - dark red onion
Allium caeruleum" - blue globe onion
Allium campanulatum" - dusky onion
Allium canadense" - Canadian garlic
Allium cepa" - garden onion
Allium cernuum" - nodding onion
"Allium fistulosum" - Welsh onion
Allium giganteum" - giant onion
Allium neapolitanum" - white garlic
Allium nevii" - Nevius' garlic
Allium nigrum" - black garlic
Allium oleraceum" - field garlic
"Allium oschaninii" - shallot
Allium ramosum" - wild Chinese chives
Allium sativum" - cultivated garlic
Allium schoenoprasum" - chives
Allium scorodoprasum" - Sand leek
Allium textile" - prairie onion
Allium tricoccum" - wild leek, ramp
Allium triquetrum" - three-cornered leek, triquetous garlic
"Allium tuberosum" - Chinese chives
Allium ursinum" - wild garlic, ramsons
Allium vineale" - crow garlic, wild onion
See full list.
"Allium" is the
onion genus, with about 1250 species, making it one of the largest plant genera in the world. They are perennial bulbous plants that produce chemical compounds (mostly cystein sulfoxide) that give them a characteristic onion or garlic taste and odor, and many are used as food plants. "Allium" is classified in family Alliaceaealthough some classifications have included it in the lilyfamily ( Liliaceae).
"Allium" species occur in
temperate climates of the northern hemisphere, except for a few species occurring in Chile (as "Allium juncifolium"), Brazil ("Allium sellovianum") or tropical Africa ("Allium spathaceum"). They can vary in height between 5 cm and 150 cm. The flowers form an umbelat the top of a leafless stalk. The bulbs vary in size between species, from very small (around 2–3 mm in diameter) to rather big (8–10 cm). Some species (such as Welsh onion, "A. fistulosum") develop thickened leaf-bases rather than forming bulbs as such.
Most bulbous alliums increase by forming little bulbs or "offsets" around the old one, as well as by
seed. Several species can form many bulbils (tiny bulbs) in the flowerhead; in the so-called " tree onion" ("A. cepa" Proliferum Group) the bulbils are few, but large enough to be used for pickling.
Members of the genus include many valued
vegetables such as onions, shallots, leeks and herbs such as garlicand chives. A strong "oniony" odor is characteristic of the whole genus, but not all members are equally flavorful.
Some "Allium" species, including "A. cristophii" and "A. giganteum", are used as border plants for their flowers, and their "architectural" qualities. Several hybrids have been bred, or selected, with rich purple flowers. "Allium hollandicum" 'Purple Sensation' is one of the most popular and has been given an
Award of Garden Merit(H4). By contrast, other species (such as the invasive "Allium triquetrum") can become troublesome garden weeds.
Various "Allium" species are used as food plants by the
larvae of some Lepidopteraincluding Cabbage Moth, Common Swift moth (recorded on garlic), Garden Dartmoth, Large Yellow Underwingmoth, Nutmeg moth, Setaceous Hebrew Charactermoth, Turnip Mothand "Schinia rosea", a moth which feeds exclusively on "Allium sp".
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