Garlic (Allium sativum) belongs to the plant family Amaryllidaceae. This plant family, commonly known as the amaryllis family, includes a wide variety of plants, some of which are well-known for their ornamental flowers, while others, like garlic, are grown for culinary and medicinal purposes.
Botanical Characteristics of Garlic
Garlic shares several botanical characteristics typical of the Amaryllidaceae family:
- Bulbous Growth: Garlic grows from a bulbous underground structure composed of individual cloves enclosed in papery skin.
- Strap-Like Leaves: The garlic plant leaves are linear and strap-like, with a central vein running through them. These leaves grow directly from the bulb.
- Inflorescence: Garlic plants produce an inflorescence in the form of a long, slender stem topped with a cluster of small, star-shaped white or pinkish blossoms. However, in many cases, these flower stalks, known as scapes, are removed to direct energy toward bulb development.
Varieties Within the Amaryllidaceae Family
The Amaryllidaceae family is diverse and includes several genera and species with varying characteristics. While garlic (Allium sativum) is a member of this family, it is distinct from other members regarding growth habit and use.
Other well-known members of the Amaryllidaceae family include amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.), snowdrop (Galanthus spp.), and daffodil (Narcissus spp.), which are often grown for their beautiful flowers and ornamental value.
Scientific Classification of Garlic Plant
What plants are related to garlic?
Within this family, garlic shares its botanical lineage with several other notable members, including onions (Allium cepa), shallots (Allium cepa var. aggregatum), leeks (Allium ampeloprasum), and chives (Allium schoenoprasum). These plants are commonly called “alliums” and are known for their pungent flavours and culinary versatility.
While each of these alliums has distinct characteristics and uses, they share similarities in terms of growth habits, bulb formation, and the presence of the characteristic onion or garlic flavour. This family of plants is appreciated by cooks and gardeners alike for its ability to add depth and savoury notes to a wide range of dishes while also being suitable for cultivation in diverse gardening settings.
Are garlic and onion in the same family?
Yes, garlic (Allium sativum) and onion (Allium cepa) are indeed in the same botanical family. They both belong to the Amaryllidaceae family, also known as the amaryllis family.
This family encompasses a wide range of plants, some of which are cultivated for culinary purposes, like garlic and onion, while others are grown for their ornamental flowers or medicinal properties.
Despite their differences in flavor and bulb structure, garlic and onion share a common botanical lineage within the Amaryllidaceae family.
In summary, garlic belongs to the plant family Amaryllidaceae, which encompasses a range of plant species, some cultivated for their culinary and medicinal properties, while others are prized for their ornamental flowers. Garlic’s classification within this family is based on its botanical characteristics, including its bulbous growth and strap-like leaves, which it shares with other family members.
Brian Sheridan has an allotment in Edgbaston and is a competitive grower. Brian is also a keen photographer and loves cooking. Brian and his wife Mary will also be running a stall at Edgebaston artisan market this year, selling products made from the allotment, including his award-winning relish!