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- Created 2012-03-30
referred to as the
. The genus, including the various edible onions, garlics,
s, has played a pivotal role in
worldwide, as the various parts of the plants, either raw or cooked in many ways, produce a large variety of flavors and textures.
The genus contains hundreds of distinct species; many have been harvested through human history, but only about a dozen are still economically important today as crops or garden
s. Many others are cultivated as ornamental plants.
boundaries are unclear. Most authorities accept about 750 species. Estimates of the number of species have been as low as 260, and as high as 860. The
for the genus is
species occur in
s of the
, except for a few species occurring in Chile (such as
), Brazil (
) or tropical Africa (
). They can vary in height between 5 cm and 150 cm. The
s form an
at the top of a leafless stalk. The
s vary in size between species, from very small (around 2–3 mm in diameter) to rather large (8–10 cm). Some species (such as Welsh onion,
) develop thickened leaf-bases rather than forming bulbs as such.
is a genus of
bulbous plants that produce chemical compounds (mostly
sulfoxide) that give them a characteristic onion or garlic taste and odor. Many are used as food plants, though not all members of the genus are equally flavorful. In most cases, both bulb and leaves are edible. Their taste may be strong or weak, depending on the species and on ground
(usually as sulfate) content (in the rare occurrence of sulphur-free growth conditions, all
species will lack their usual pungency altogether).
APG III classification system
is placed in the
(formerly the family Alliaceae). In some of the older
was placed in
studies have shown this
of Liliaceae is not
is one of about 57 genera of flowering plants with more than 500 species. It is by far the largest genus in the Amaryllidaceae, and also in the Alliaceae in
in which that family is recognized as separate.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 19 May), licensed under
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Index Nominum Genericorum
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