Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to the Ancient Egyptians, and has been used both for food flavoring and traditional medicine
Origin and major types
Allium sativum grows in the wild in areas where it has become naturalized. The “wild garlic”, “crow garlic”, and “field garlic” of Britain are members of the species Allium ursinum, Allium vineale, and Allium oleraceum, respectively. Identification of the wild progenitor for common garlic is made difficult by the sterility of its many cultivars which may all be descended from the species, Allium longicuspis, growing wild in central and southwestern Asia.
In North America, Allium vineale (known as “wild garlic” or “crow garlic”) and Allium canadense, known as “meadow garlic” or “wild garlic” and “wild onion”, are common weeds in fields.So-called elephant garlic, is actually a wild leek (Allium ampeloprasum), and not a true garlic. Single clove garlic (also called pearl or solo garlic) originated in the Yunnanprovince of China.