Varieties of garlic


 

Garlic has quite the extensive family tree. The first thing to know is that there are two major subspecies of garlic: hardneck and softneck. Hardneck garlic has few, but large cloves, and gets its name from its thick flowering, curly stalk called the “scape” (pictured below).

Because of this scape, hardneck garlic must be hand planted to ensure the tip of the clove is pointing upwards when planted, as the scape cannot easily turn underneath the ground and find its way to the surface. Also, it is widely believed that by cutting the scape in the spring, all the energy of the plant that would have gone into the scape gets diverted into producing larger cloves; therefore, hardneck garlic requires a significant amount of care to grow.

There are five true varieties of hardneck garlic: Porcelain, Rocambole, Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, and Glazed Purple Stripe. There are three more varieties of hardneck, but these often produce a weak scape when planted in mild to warm climates, therefore producing garlic with a softneck. These include the Creole, Asiatic, and Turban varieties. Softneck garlic has two main varieties: Silverskin and Artichoke. Softneck garlic has more, but fewer cloves than hardneck, and lacks the scape. When you see images of garlic bundles braided together, you are looking at softneck garlic.

Due to the lack of a scape, softneck can be planted mechanically because it is not particular about being upright in the ground, and it also lasts longer in storage than its hardneck counterparts; therefore, most of the garlic found in your grocery store will be softneck.

 

Softneck

Artichoke: Inchelium Red, Italian Late, Kettle River Giant, Lorz Italian, Thermadrone, Transylvanian

Silverskin: Silver Rose, Silver White

 

Hardneck

Porcelain: Leningrad, Northern Quebec, Romanian Red

Purple Stripe, Marbled Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe: Chesnok Red, Kostyn’s Red Russian, Persian Star

Rocambole: French Rocambole, Purple Italian, Slovenian

Creole: Cuban Purple, Ajo Rojo, Burgundy, Creole Red, Rose du Lautrec

Turban: Blossom, China Stripe, Lotus


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