Garlic Makes Seeds Once Again
"In its growth process, the garlic plant's bulbing and flowering occur simultaneously in the spring -- both processes regulated by temperature and day length. During generations of cultivation, farmers selected those plants that displayed early ripening and large bulbs. The rapid growth of the bulbs drew most of the nutrient and energy resources of the plant, leaving little for blossoming. This shortage resulted in abortion of the floral bud at a very early stage of development, and hence complete sterility. In those cases in which the plants succeeded in producing a floral stem, the developing flower buds were strangulated by the small bulbs at the top that were developing rapidly under conditions of lengthening days.
Once the Hebrew University and Volcani Institute researchers understood the conditions that were contributing to the plants' sterility, they experimented with growing garlic plants under controlled conditions in which temperature and daylight were regulated. In this way they succeeded in delaying the bulb growth in favor of flowering, regaining fertility and production of seeds.
''In creating this flowering and seed production, we were able to open up the possibilities for genetic diversity of the garlic plant which had remain frozen for thousands of years,'' said Prof. Rabinowitch."