1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allium

ALLIUM (Lat. for "garlic"), a genus of plants, natural order Liliaceae, with about 250 species (seven of which occur in Britain), found in Central and South Europe, North Africa, the dry country of West and Central Asia, and North and Central America. The plants are bulbous herbs, with flat or rounded radical leaves, and a central naked or leafy stem, bearing a head or umbel of small flowers, with a spreading or bell-shaped white, pink, red, yellow or blue perianth. Several species afford useful foods, such as onion (Allium Cepa), leek (A. Porrum), shallot or eschallot (A. ascalonicum), garlic (A. savitum), and chives (A. schoenoprasum). A few species are cultivated as border plants; such are A. Moly, an old garden plant with bright yellow flowers, and A. neapolitanum, the well-known white-flowered species, both natives of southern Europe.