home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Allium sativum (Garlic)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Amaryllidaceae > Genus: Allium

Allium sativum (Garlic)
Allium sativum (Garlic) Allium sativum (Garlic)

Garlic under cultivation, road from Laingsburg to Seweweekspoort, Western Cape, South Africa. [photo H.G. Robertson, Iziko ]

Garlic is grown as a vegetable and is also used for medicinal purposes because of its natural antibacterial and antifungal properties. Allium sativum is a domesticated species, thought to have originated from Allium longicuspis which is native to Central Asia. Evidence from Egyptian tombs shows that domestication of garlic goes back to at least 3200 BC. Modern garlic varieties are propagated vegetatively because seeds are infertile. 


  • Phillips, R. & Rix, M. 1993. Vegetables. Pan Books, London.