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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Genetic Diversity of Garlic

Author
item Volk, Gayle

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: August 1, 2006
Publication Date: September 23, 2006
Citation: Volk, G.M. 2006. Genetic diversity of garlic. Meeting Abstract. Hudson Valley Garlic Festival, September 23, 2006, Albany, NY.

Interpretive Summary: Garlic is a vegetatively propagated crop. In constrast to seed-propagated crops, in garlic, cloves are separated from the underground bulbs and planted each fall. By the following summer, each planted clove has grown into a garlic plant which produces a new bulb underground. Most grocery stores sell softneck type garlics that can be easily stored for up to 12 months. Scape forming hardneck type garlics are much more difficult to store for extended lengths of time. Specialty hardneck types produced by small-scale farmers often have unusual flavors and textures compared to most grocery store types that are produced primarily overseas. Small-scale farmers can make profits on specialty garlic varieties that they sell in local markets and cooperatives. Garlic plants are very responsive to the environment. Growth habit is affected by moisture, altitude, latitude, soil type, and growth conditions. As a result, cultivar appearance will vary depending on the farm on which it is grown. Over hundreds of years, cultivars have been renamed by growers, so many genetically identical accessions may have different names. By using genetic analyses, we determined the extent of duplication within the USDA-Agriculture Research Service- National Plant Germplasm System’s garlic collection and among many common cultivars. Overall, approximately 50% of the garlic cultivars are genetically very similar to one another. These cultivars can be classified into at least 10 major garlic types. Artichoke and Silverskin are softneck garlic types. Hardneck garlic cultivars can be classified as Rocambole, Porcelain, Marble Purple Stripe, Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, Turban, Asiatic, and Creole type garlics. Information on the genetic relationships among garlic cultivars and growth characteristics will enable farmers to select diverse, desirable varieties for production.

Technical Abstract: Garlic is a vegetatively propagated crop. In constrast to seed-propagated crops, in garlic, cloves are separated from the underground bulbs and planted each fall. By the following summer, each planted clove has grown into a garlic plant which produces a new bulb underground. Most grocery stores sell softneck type garlics that can be easily stored for up to 12 months. Scape forming hardneck type garlics are much more difficult to store for extended lengths of time. Specialty hardneck types produced by small-scale farmers often have unusual flavors and textures compared to most grocery store types that are produced primarily overseas. Small-scale farmers can make profits on specialty garlic varieties that they sell in local markets and cooperatives. Garlic plants are very responsive to the environment. Growth habit is affected by moisture, altitude, latitude, soil type, and growth conditions. As a result, cultivar appearance will vary depending on the farm on which it is grown. Over hundreds of years, cultivars have been renamed by growers, so many genetically identical accessions may have different names. By using genetic analyses, we determined the extent of duplication within the USDA-Agriculture Research Service- National Plant Germplasm System’s garlic collection and among many common cultivars. Overall, approximately 50% of the garlic cultivars are genetically very similar to one another. These cultivars can be classified into at least 10 major garlic types. Artichoke and Silverskin are softneck garlic types. Hardneck garlic cultivars can be classified as Rocambole, Porcelain, Marble Purple Stripe, Purple Stripe, Glazed Purple Stripe, Turban, Asiatic, and Creole type garlics. Information on the genetic relationships among garlic cultivars and growth characteristics will enable farmers to select diverse, desirable varieties for production.

Last Modified: 8/21/2014
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