(Allium sativa)

Garlic (Allium sativa) seems to have evolved from a wild relative somewhere around Mesopotamia at least 4000 years ago. It spread as far a China thousands of years ago. Today, China produces about 75% of the world’s garlic. It has been widely used as a flavouring in cooking, and as a form of folk medicine, and even as a form of magic to ward off vampires and such. Two main sorts of garlic are grown:

  • Hardneck garlics(ophioscorodon varieties) are mainly grown in colder regions. They throw up a coiled flowering stem called a “scape” in the spring. Skins on the cloves are often red or purple, and the flavour can be quite fiery. Garlic scapes are a delicacy!
  • Softneck garlics (sativa varieties) are mainly grown in warmer regions. The skins are often white, and the flavour more mellow. Both sorts grow well in Britain.