Carew, H. John Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
Last reviewed:June 2021
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A hardy perennial, Allium sativum, of Asiatic origin and belonging to the plant order Asparagales. Garlic is grown for its pungent bulbs (see illustration). Segments of these are used primarily for seasoning. Europeans have grown garlic for probably more than 1000 years. Propagation is commonly by bulb segments, which are sometimes called cloves; seeds are seldom produced. Cultural practices for garlic are similar to those used for onions. Popular varieties, which number in the hundreds, include Italian, Tahiti, and Creole or Mexican. Harvest of the mature dry bulbs occurs 7 to 8 months after planting. Garlic salt is made from dehydrated cloves. China dominates the garlic industry, supplying more than 75% of the worldwide garlic production. In the United States, California is the most important producing region; smaller acreages of garlic are planted in Louisiana and Texas. See also: Asparagales; Onion; Spice and flavoring
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