This page was created for a presentation in a botany class at Davidson College.


Truly the "Stinking Rose"

"Garlic is a habit and a passion."
Kim Upton, Chicago Sun Times

"Say yes to garlic!"
Geraldo, 20th century

"Three nickels will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat."
New York Yiddish saying

"Garlic's time has come."
Washington Post




The Basics

Scientific Name: Allium Sativum

Classification: Perennial of the Lily (Lilaceae) Family...also included in this family is leeks, onions and shallots

Physical Structure:

-flowering stem

-underground bulb head

Within Bulb: CLOVES (8-12 typically)



Indigenious to: the Kirgiz desert region of Siberia (map showing location of Siberia)

Derived from Allium longicuspis (original species)

From Siberia, in Central Asia, it's not Exactly Clear Where Garlic Was First Cultivated (Yet Nomadic People May Play A Role)

Earliest Places Garlic Revealed: *8th Century B.C. grown in gardens of King of Babylon

*3000 B.C. Chinese Scholars mentioned garlic in their Sanskrit writings

Historical Ties to Different Groups of People:


- Egyptians Used Garlic as Currency and Referred to It in Rituals and Oaths

- Vikings and Phoenicians took garlic along on voyages

-Crusaders are credited with Bringing Garlic Back to Europe

What's in the name?

*The name Garlic comes from the Anglo Saxon garleac: Gar means a "spear" referring to the pointed leaves and Leac means "a plant"*




Cultivated around the world: specifically~ Spain, France Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary, USA, Mexico and Brazil

Over 600 Cultivated Species of Garlic originating from Allium Longicuspis


Get Ready for Some NAMES... Just to Give You an Idea:

True Garlics are classified under the species Allium Sativum

Allium Sativum

2 Subspecies: A.) Ophioscorodon aka HARD-Necked Garlics

*Original Form


B.) Sativum aka Soft-Necked Garlics

*developed by growers from hard-necked

From the Hard-Necks there are 3Varieties :

I. Purple Stripe = Purple Stripe garlicsare usually vividly striped with purplish vertical stripes decorating the bulb wrappers, hence their name.

II. Porcelain = The Most Beautiful, White with Thick Parchment Covering the Cloves.

III. Rocambole =

Rocambole garlics tend to have thinner bulb wrappers than other ophios and lots of purple striping and splotches. They are not as white as other ophios and seem to have a brownish cast to them, in fact, some of them almost look as though they need a bath


2 Varieties of Soft-Necked:

a.) Artichoke

Seen Most Often in US Supermarkets

b.) Silverskin

Silverskin garlics are usually, but not always, the ones that you see in braids. Silverskins are generally the longest storing of all garlics and have a soft pliable neck that lends itself to braiding and holds up over time better than the artichokes whose necks tend to deteriorate earlier than the silverskins.


Focusing on the USA...


California EARLY and California LATE varieties are grown and sold!

Distinctions: Early = White Skins, Rounder and Flatter Bulbs, Larger Cloves & planted in December for June harvesting

Late = Smaller Bulbs, Pink or Purplish Skin & harvested in July or August

*When in Doubt, Assume the Garlic You Bought was Late!!!


Back to the Stinking Rose Part:

Why the Smell?

*Garlic Smells Due to a Chemical Reaction that Takes Place Whenever Cells are Broken*

This Chemical Reaction Ties into the Flavor of the Garlic, too!!!

*Different Tastes for Different Cooking Methods!!!


Getting to the ROSE PART...


Economics of Garlic:

*Large Demand = Need for a Large Supply for this "Spice of Life"

Industrially: -Through a proces of distillation with water, oil is isolated from cloves. This oil contains compounds essential in the creation of ALKENES (C=C).

Alkenes are used to manufacture: -extreme pressure lubricants

-sealants in the glass industry

-binders in solid propellants for rockets

-vulcanization of Rubber to Increase Its Duriability


Starting to Smell Better? OR Look More Pleasant?....Just Wait



Medicinal Properties

-Used As Long Ago at 5,000 years without Scientific Data...By the Visual Effects Were Enough Evidence!

-Current Knowledge Rests on the Sulfer-Containing Metabolic Compounds of Garlic

*Garlic contains a Great Deal of Sulfur: 67 mg/100mg of garlic

Where is it all? OIL = amino acid alliin and once cells within the clove are broken, the alliin is converted into enzyme known as alline lyase catalyses the formation of allicin, which is the precursor for several other sulfur-containing compounds responsible for the flavor, odor, and pharmological properties of garlic.

Studies have attributed garlic to: Ajoene:Reduce Blot Clotting & Reduce Blood Pressure = Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases (Anticoagulants)

The Study

Ajoene also decreases bacterial growth

+ = :) Lowered Incidence of Stomach Cancer

Inhibits Growth of Carcinoma Cells in Lung Cancer Patients

Improves the Overall Immune System

Basically It's Good for Whatever Ails You: Check Out the Specifics!!

Conclusion: Perhaps----

Each Day Rather...

So in Conclusion, Yes It's Stinky, But A Rose For Sooo many Reasons! (Health, Economy, Culinary, etc.)

Garlic: Truly a STINKY ROSE


And Be Kind to the Earth!







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14. Taylor,T, Clowes F. Nov 1978. Temperature and Coordination of Cell
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15. Raghman, Abdur;Mann, Louis; Owenby, Marion; Berg, Rolf. May-Jun
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American Journal of Botany, Vol. 80, No. 12., pp. 1494 1499.


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Questions or Comments: E-mail Maureen Keogh