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GARLIC GLOSSARY

While we have tried to keep our website and garlic growing guide simple to use, however our glossary might help with some explanations
 

Annual - A plant which completes its lifecycle in one year

Alliin - An amino acid present in fresh garlic which when disturbed allinase converts into allicin

Allicin - The sulphur containing amino acid which once disturbed converts to cystine creating the garlic smell and taste

Alliinase - A catalyst enzyme which causes the chemical change of allicin to allicin

Artichoke - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of two softneck garlics

Asiatic
 - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics

Basal Plate - The part of the plant which the roots grow out of which is actually the garlic's true stem containing root buds


Beak - The top of the scape or flower stalk where is narrows down to end point. The beak can be long or short depending on the garlic group

Biennial - A plant which requires two years to complete its lifecycle, garlic technically is a biennial but we harvest it as an annual

Bolt - The arrival of the garlic's flower stalk which extends upwards from the leaves. Softneck garlic do not generally bolt, semi-bolting in cool/cold winters usually bolt, while strongly bolting garlic groups always bolt

Bract - A modified leaf such as a garlic spathe

Bud - The leafy shoot as it begins to grow. There are also root buds which are in the basal plate

Bulb - The swollen and round shaped unground stem which generally contain a layer or several layers of cloves

Bulb Formation
 - A period late in the season where the plant transfers it's energy from leaf to bulb growth and when the bulb begins to swell

Bulb Wrapper - The thin papery outer layer of the bulb skin

Bulbil - The small secondary bulbs normally located in the umbel or stem of the plant


Bulblets - Small bulbs or clove like structures that grow beside the parent bulb

Clone - In reference to garlic it is a genetic replica of the plant. Bulbs, cloves and bulbils are clones, while true seed is not

Clove - One of several divisions inside a bulb that is made up of many individual lobes. Most gardeners plant the clove into the soil

Clove Layers
 - In hardneck garlic typcially cloves are stacked radially around a bulb, while a softneck has 2-3 clove layers where cloves get smaller in the innermost layers

Clove Skin - The hard yet thin outer layer of the clove (it is actually a separate leaf unconnected with the clove


Cracking - Also known as 'popping', is when garlic cloves are separated from the bulb on the day or the following before planting the clove

Creole - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics

Cultivar - A cultivated variety. Technically the different garlic groups are cultivars not varieties

Curing- The process of hanging and drying out garlic after harvesting for several weeks prepare the bulb for longterm storage

Cysteine 
- The amino acid that is responsible for the pungency of garlic smell and taste. Normally it is stable and odourless, however once disturbed it gives off the garlic fragrance

Day-Length Sensitivity - All garlic is sensitive to the changing day lengths and when moving garlic across latitudes can affect the growth before the plant recovers from climatisation 

Dieback - The process of the leaves yellowing to a brown shade normally at near the onset of a bulb maturing before harvest. Dieback can also be caused from disease, pests, nutrient deficiency or weather

Double Cloves/Shoots - A clove which has more than one vegetative buds which when planted forms double or multiple shoots

Pseudostem/False Stem - The plant's stalk. The true stem is actually the basal plate


Climate Zones - Grouping of similar regional weather pattern. In NZ there are three main climate zones for garlic being mild, cool and cold winter areas. There are thousands of local micro-climates

Clove Skin - The hard yet thin outer layer of the clove (it is actually a separate leaf unconnected with the clove

Cold Climate/Winter
 - In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the mid to lower North Island and South Island which is at higher elevations receives greater than a cool winter normally consisting of severe frosts for prolonged periods

Cool Climate/Winter - In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the mid to lower North Island and South Island which is at lower elevations receives neither a mild or cold winter

F1 - The term for hybrids or cultivars of plants obtained by modern breeding methods

False Stem
 - Also known as the psedostem of the stalk of the garlic plant as botanically the feature is actually elongated leaf bases wrapped around tightly

Flowerhead - Also called the umbel or topset consisting of bulbils and flowers


Garlic - One of 800 Allium species, but only one of seven that are cultivated. The word originates from Anglo-Saxon, 'Gar' meaning spear and 'leac' being leek

Garlic Groups - A cultivated variety. Technically the different garlic groups are cultivars not varieties

Garlic Rust - A fungal disease which forms round white then orange rusty spots on a plant.

Glazed Purple Stripe - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics

Grade - The size category of the bulb. Grading is normally undertaken commercially, however gardeners should grade to pick the largest cloves from largest bulbs planting the following year

Green Garlic - Freshly harvested garlic that has not been dryed/cured

Hardneck -Also known as a red garlic or topset, is a garlic that produces a scape and umbel

Leaf Blade
 - The thin flat part of the leaf

Leaf Sheath
 - The base of the leaf which wraps around the stalk or false stem

Leaf Tip - The end of each leaf

Marbled Purple Stripe -
One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics

Maturity - The period to which the plant has finished growing and the bulb is ready for harvesting being at full size without deterioration

Mild Climate/Winter
 
- In reference to NZ garlic this is an area in the northern part of the North Island which receives more warmer winters

Neck - The top of the bulb and the base of the stalk

Neck Bulbils 
- Bulbils which form along the stalk or garlic's false stem sometimes found in artichoke garlic types

Nitrogen - Is a naturally occurring chemical element, and is one of the most important nutrients for a garlic's plant leaf growth. Natural sources of nitrogen for your garlic bed include blood and bone, coffee grounds, nitrogen fixing cover crops (peas, beans or other legumes), fish emulsion, grass clippings, leaves, and animal manure

Non-bolting - One of the two softneck garlic groups (silverskin and artichoke) that generally does not send up a scape

Ophio Garlic - A Latin term meaning 'serpent', an old term used for the eight semi or strongly bolting garlic that typically sends up a scape flower stalk

Psedostem - The false stem of the stalk of the garlic plant as botanically the feature is actually elongated leaf bases wrapped around tightly

Popping - Also known as 'cracking', is when garlic cloves are separated from the bulb on the day or the following before planting the clove

Potassium - Is a naturally occurring chemical element, and is one of the most important nutrients for a garlic's bulb growth. Natural sources of potassium are wood ash, banana peels and compost made from food scraps and seaweed

Porcelain - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics

Quarantine - A bed which is used for the planting of new cloves which is isolated from other garlic where bulbs have potential to import disease or pest risk. Quarantine normally lasts 1-2 years

Rocambole - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics

Roots - The organs of the plant which are underground and form out of basal plate

Rotation - Refers to crop rotation for annual crops to reduce the risk of disease and replenish nutrients. Garlic should be not planted in the same bed location ideally for at least three years

Rounds - The term for when a clove produces a single bulb with no individual cloves. This normally occurs for most first generation bulbils, early harvested bulbs or poorly performing bulbs

Rust 
- Garlic Rust (Puccina porri) is a persistent pathogenic fungi affecting plants during the bulbing period

Sativum - A Latin term meaning 'cultivated', an old term often referring to softneck garlics

Seed - Technically the seed of garlic is 'true seed' formed in the flowerhead. All other plantable stock (bulbs, cloves and bulbils) are actually clones and not seed. It is common-place to hear bulbs being called seed garlic or garlic seed

Scape - Also known as a flower stalk it rises out of the bulb on hardneck garlics to produce the flowerhead. Scapes can be picked early to increase bulb size and can be used for culinary dishes

Semi-bolting 
- One of the three hardneck garlic groups (turban, creole and asiatic) that generally send up a scape unless in a warmer winter zone

Silverskin - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of two softneck garlics

Softneck - Also known as 'white garlic' is a garlic that does not produces a scape and umbel (silverskin and artichoke) and are easier to plait for storing

Spathe - The covering and enclosing the flower cluster and bulbils which extends to the beak

Species - Garlic is just one species (sativum of the allium genus). The ten garlic groups are cultivars of the species

Split Bulb/Skin - When a bulb has been harvested too late and the cloves are pushing away from the centre of the bulb breaking open the bulb wrapper

Strain 
- The lowest division of plant classification, in reference to garlic is is the small variations of cultivars/garlic groups that can be used to label a particular garlic. Often commercial growers will brand a garlic which has certain characteristics as a result of the areas mirco-climate, soils or local factors which influence a garlic group. The creole group or cultivar has a popular strain called Ajo Roja

Standard Purple Stripe - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three strongly-bolting garlics

Strongly-bolting - One of the five hardneck garlic groups (porcelain, rocambole and the three purple stripe groups) that sends up a scape

Topset - Also known as a hardneck, is a garlic that produces a scape and umbel

True Seed 
- Technically the tiny black seed formed in the flowerhead. All other plantable stock (bulbs, cloves and bulbils) are actually clones and not seed. It is common-place to hear bulbs being called seed garlic or garlic seed

True Stem - The flat base of the bulb being the basal plate, not above the bulb which are leaves or the false stem

Turban
 - One of the ten global garlic groups, and one of three semi-bolting garlics

Umbel
 -The flowerhead at the top of the scape which includes the bulbils, flowers, spathe and beak


Vegetative Reproduction - Any plant grown asexually and reproduced vegetatively such as garlic bulbs, cloves and bulbils. Garlic 'true seed' comes from the flowerhead from sexual reproduction

Vernalisation - Either natural or artificial cooling for several weeks in order to initiate garlic's bulb development

Wild Garlic - Naturally uncultivated garlic

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