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Genus Allium Family Amaryllidaceae

Description: Herb, parts usually with onion- or garlic-like odour when crushed; bulbs solitary or clustered, sometimes surrounded by basal bulblets.

Leaves solid or hollow, flat, triquetrous or terete.

Inflorescence umbellate, flowers sometimes partly or entirely replaced by sessile bulbils. Tepals free or slightly united, white to pink, sometimes with a greenish midvein. Stamens inserted at base of perianth; filaments simple or 3-fid, linear or broadened. Ovules usually 2 per loculus; style gynobasic; stigma capitate or 3-fid.

Capsule globose to ovoid; seeds usually 3–6, angled or subglobose.

Distribution and occurrence: World: 500–700 species, Northern Hemisphere. Australia: c. 12 species (naturalized), N.S.W., Vic., Tas., S.A., W.A.

Several are cultivated for culinary purposes; these include Garlic (A. sativum L.), Leek (A. porrum L.), Onion, (A. cepa L. including A. ascalonicum auct. non. L., A. salota Dostal) and Chives (A. schoenoprasum L.).

Text by D. C. Godden
Taxon concept:

Taxa not yet included in identification key
Allium tuberosum

 Key to the species 
1Umbel loose; leaves almost basal; scape flaccid to 3-angled or 3-angled2
Umbel compact; leaves sheathing half to two-thirds of scape; scape terete3
2Scape always erect; perianth ascending; stigma entire; seeds without elaiosomeAllium neapolitanum
Scape often flaccid; perianth pendent to reflexed; stigma 3-fid; seeds with elaiosome
                       Back to 1
Allium triquetrum
3Bulblets absent; leaves sheathing half to two-thirds of scape, hollow in lower part; spathe persistent with two unequal, elongated lobes much longer than pedicelsAllium oleraceum
Bulblets present; leaves sheathing up to half of scape; spathe caducous or, if persistent, shorter than pedicels
                       Back to 1
4Leaves solid, flat or channelled, 15–30 mm wide; bulbils absent; spathe persistentAllium ampeloprasum
Leaves hollow, cylindrical, 3–6 mm wide; bulbils present; spathe caducous
                       Back to 3
Allium vineale

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