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Resources needed to identify garlic

Posted by gcdouglass z7 MD (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 29, 05 at 14:15

I have been growing Shvelisi (Chesnok Red) and Tochliavri (Red Toch) for a couple years. My wife's grandmother discovered that I was growing garlic so kindly sent me some she purchased at a farmer's market.

Through the mail from California my wife's grandmother sent me Khabar, Creole (Red), Brown Tempest, Metechi, Music, and Killarney Red. Many of the heads were damaged in shipping and most were starting to rot before they went into the ground. Not expecting much from these heads I planted them and figured I would taste test any that grew next year and decide if they were worth continuing to grow. I was able to harvest at least several cloves of each. In total I gathered over 58 heads of garlic.

After several taste tests I decide that I like the flavor of all these varieties, but one. A variety that has one lone offset clove on each head of garlic and has an extremely mild taste. I have decide to grow all the varieties minus one again to see what if any will thrive in my garden if non-damaged heads are planted. And hope that next year's tast tests and performance whittles down my varieties to grow list.

The varieties came with an index card stating what I was receiving, but individual heads were not labeled. Assuming that the varieties are correct I should have the following types: a creole, a rocambole, a porcelain and 3 marbled purple stripes. Unfortunately this summer I did not make any notes or take pictures of the garlic as it was growing that would help me identify them. I believe my best course of action would be to seperate the garlic varieties based on type.

If I examine the garlic head of each variety is it possible to seperate the porcelain, rocambole and creole from the marbled purple stripe varieties based on appearance?
If so, does anyone know of a resource that I could use to accomplish this?

Else, I suppose will need to wait until next year when I am growing the garlic to hopefully identify at least a few varieties.

Any help on ideas to assist with identification would be appreciated.

Photos of the garlic is at:

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Resources needed to identify garlic

Check "Growing Great Garlic," which has a taxonomic key to identifying garlics by type. Also the Filaree Farms and other catalogs have descriptive material that will help.

RE: Resources needed to identify garlic


Thanks for the resources. I reviewed the Filaree Farms web site and I'll check the book out.

I am 90%+ certain I have identified the creole and rocombole varieties. Okay they are the easiest to distinguish.

I still cannot find a characteristic to distinguish porcelein from marbled purple stripe varieties by examining the heads or individual cloves alone. The description of the procelein variety I have (Music) states that it also has purple stripes.

Anyway, I am 70%+ confident that I have identified the other varieties. I am having the most problem with the varieties 1 and 5. They look very similar, but variety 1 is several magnitudes hotter than 5. I beleive one is Khabar and the other Metechi.

I updated the web site at my guesses at identification and my reasoning.

Feel free to let me know if anyone sees any flaws at my identification. Also I would love to hear from anyone concerning the difference in flavor between Metechi and Khabar.

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