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Rocambole, Serpent garlic, Ajo

Amaryllidaceae Allium sativum L.

Source: Magness et al. 1971

The garlic plant is similar to onion, except it produces a group of small bulbs, called cloves, all enclosed in thin papery scales, instead of a single bulb. The leaves reach about 12 inches in height, and are narrow, but not hollow. Plants are usually produced by planting a clove, or a bulblet that forms in the flower head. All commercial planting in the U.S. is in areas of mid winter climate, mainly in California. Cloves are planted in October to January, and harvest is in mid to late summer. Bulb development is below the soil surface. The strongly scented and flavored bulbs are used mainly for flavoring meats, stews, and soups. The common names Rocambole and Serpent garlic are applied to garlic varieties having coiled or twisted scapes, the flower stalks.

Season, planting to harvest: About 8 months.

Production in U.S.: About 24,000 tons.

Use: Dried and ground as powder, fresh, used mainly as flavoring in other foods.

Part of plant consumed: Cloves - small bulbs enclosed in scales during growth.

Last update February 18, 1999 by ch