Joint garlic (Allium neapolitanum)

These plants have been part of human culture for centuries. These are within the Amaryllidaceae family and have 1250 species scattered throughout the world.

Garlic, onion, chives or chives, garlic joint (whose scientific name is Allium neapolitanum ) and hundreds of other varieties with the characteristic smell and particular flavor, used in many of the culinary dishes typical of the Mediterranean region.


Definitely, Allium neapolitanum is a fundamental part of diets, although culturally they have also served to keep away vibrations that are not in harmony and other popular beliefs. In addition, it must be said that this plant really has extraordinary medicinal qualities.

It is an honor to have such a noble member of the plant world in the wild flora and in any of its presentations. It performs a great protective function in orchards and gardens, as it removes the smell of pests or insects, standing out for its beauty and pleasant smell.

The Allium neapolitanum is a species of the more than 1000 of the genus existing on the planet of the Amaryllidaceae family and the common name by which it is known is joint garlic, white garlic, scars, scallions, tears of the Magdalena and eyes of Christ.

In addition to Allium neapolitanum, there are other well-known and commonly used species in the kitchen such as Allium crispum, Allium sativum, Allium schoenoprasum, Allium nigrum, Allium cernuum, among others, and they are nothing more than the name for common ingredients in the cooks such as garlic, chives, onion, leeks, etc. They all bear the name Allium, which etymologically has the meaning of burning and this perhaps because it refers to the characteristic strong smell of the plant. The plant was also known to the Romans and it is believed that the origin of its name actually comes from Celtic.

Allium is the scientific name for garlic and neapolitanum refers to the region of its origin or where it is most cultivated or its use is popular. It is also considered a fact within its etymology according to other authors, that the name comes from the Greek word aglidion and whose meaning is to avoid or flee, since its smell was considered disgusting.

It was Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708), a French naturalist, one of the first to use the name Allium to reflect the name of the plant in his botanical studies. Its culinary use is quite extensive due to its characteristic flavor and ornamental versatility, and its flavor and properties are ideal for culinary use, also having some medicinal benefits.

The tears of the Magdalena or the garlic joint are small perennial bulbous plants that grow to a maximum of 30 centimeters in height. The leaves are long and delicate of a bright green color and are usually two or three. Small white flowers grow on the leaf tips and bloom between late winter and early spring.

The bulb of the plant is surrounded by bulbilos that are generally greyish yellow in color. All the species of the genus have sulfur compounds that are derived from allyl sulfide.

When it is cut, the alliin enzyme is converted into allinase, which is what gives the fruits of these plants their characteristic smell and properties. Allinase or allicin has antibacterial and antifungal medicinal qualities. In addition, they possibly influence the regulation of cholesterol, blood pressure, fight arteriosclerosis and have antiviral applications.

Some of these plants have more qualities than others, but in general the whole family of these plants shares these qualities to a greater or lesser degree.

Growing and caring for Allium neapolitanum

These plant species can occur annually or biannually and are most easily grown in temperate zones. Its adaptation can withstand the occasional frost, but it thrives best in shady or semi-shady conditions.

They can also be adapted in tropical areas but it is more common to see them in the Mediterranean area. The habitat of this plant is usually in humid and shady terrain such as riverbanks, roadsides, etc., and the cultivation of this type of Allium is not demanding when it comes to soil quality.. However, it is preferable that it contains organic matter and some humus.

It is very resistant to pests and diseases and the best way to multiply them is through the bulbs after flowering. This operation is usually done in the fall and this advice is valid for all types of Allium. If they are going to be planted through the seeds, the ideal season to do so is in spring and in a protected box. Bulbs can also be planted directly into the ground in large groups and it is not uncommon for planting to progress spontaneously in slightly shaded soils.

Diseases and pests

Because it is a very resistant plant, it is not very common for it to be attacked by any type of disease or plague, on the contrary, it usually keeps this type of problems away from the crops. However, in a very small percentage and in industrial plantations it can be affected by the onion fly, white rot and mildew.

In the case of industrial plantations, the onion fly is a serious problem that requires special help from chemical pesticides. But if the planting is small, the ideal is simply to plant carrots near it.

Mildew is controlled by removing affected leaves, improving plant ventilation, and removing weeds from the environment. Excess moisture must be removed and as a last resort an extract of horsetail can be applied to the plant. White rot is controlled only by improving the ventilation of the plant and lowering the humidity levels.

In general, these types of plants have considerable commercial importance, their crops and product sales are quite widespread, making them highly profitable crops for commercialization.

The cares of this plant are really very few, being beautiful, pleasant and of multiple properties that has been accompanied by gardens and wild vegetation for thousands of years. Its resistance and adaptability guarantee a space in the plant world for much longer.

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