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Keeled Garlic

Allium carinatum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Gardens, grassland, meadows, mountains, rocky places, woodland.

Pink, 6 petals
The long-stalked flowers are bell-shaped, bright pink and often nodding. The stalks are longer than the similar-looking Crow Garlic (Allium vineale). Purple stamens. Yellow pollen. Insect-pollination.
A seed capsule which is rarely produced.
Erect, cylindrical, linear leaves. Perennial.
Strongly smells of garlic.
Other Names:
Swan Garlic, Witch's Garlic.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Allium carinatum, also known as Keeled Garlic or Swan Garlic, is a species of wild onion that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that typically grows from a bulb, it produces a single stem with narrow, linear leaves and small, pink to white flowers, which are arranged in an umbel. The plant has a strong garlic smell when the leaves are crushed.

It is considered a weed by some and can be found in gardens and fields. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and can be found in meadows, gardens, and rocky hills.

The leaves and bulbs are edible, but they have a very strong onion flavor, they are not commonly used in culinary as other onion species and it is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens instead. Some studies report it to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.


Keeled Garlic, scientifically known as Allium carinatum, is a species of garlic that is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe. It is a member of the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives. Keeled Garlic is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant that is prized for its unique flavor and medicinal properties. In this blog, we will explore the history, cultivation, and uses of Keeled Garlic.


Keeled Garlic has a long history of use in Mediterranean cuisine and traditional medicine. It was first cultivated by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as a flavoring for food and as a natural remedy for various ailments. The plant was later introduced to other parts of Europe, where it became a popular ingredient in traditional dishes such as pesto, soups, and stews.


Keeled Garlic is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb. It is easy to cultivate and requires little maintenance. The plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade. Keeled Garlic can be grown from seeds or bulbs, but it is more commonly propagated by bulb division.

The plant produces beautiful pink or purple flowers in the summer, which attract bees and other pollinators. The bulbs are ready for harvesting in late summer or early fall, after the leaves have withered.


Keeled Garlic is highly prized for its unique flavor, which is milder and sweeter than that of other garlic varieties. It has a slightly nutty taste and a delicate aroma, which makes it an excellent ingredient in a variety of dishes. Keeled Garlic can be used in salads, marinades, soups, stews, and sauces. It is also a popular ingredient in pesto, a traditional Italian sauce made with garlic, basil, pine nuts, and olive oil.

In addition to its culinary uses, Keeled Garlic has several medicinal properties. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and respiratory infections. Some studies have also suggested that Keeled Garlic may have anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed to confirm this.

More Information about Keeled Garlic

Keeled Garlic is also known for its ornamental value. Its attractive pink or purple flowers make it a popular choice for landscaping and garden design. The plant's foliage is also attractive, with long, slender leaves that add a touch of elegance to any garden.

In terms of health benefits, Keeled Garlic is rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce inflammation and protect the body against oxidative stress. It also contains a compound called allicin, which has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This makes Keeled Garlic a natural remedy for various infections, including those caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Keeled Garlic is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system, promoting cardiovascular health, and supporting overall wellbeing.

Keeled Garlic is a versatile and valuable plant with a long history of use in Mediterranean cuisine and traditional medicine. Its unique flavor, ornamental value, and health benefits make it a popular choice for gardeners, cooks, and herbalists alike. Whether you're looking to add some flavor to your favorite dishes or boost your overall health, Keeled Garlic is a plant worth exploring.

One of the interesting things about Keeled Garlic is that it is considered a "wild" garlic, meaning it is not a domesticated variety like some other garlics that have been selectively bred over time for specific characteristics. This makes it a great choice for those interested in growing heirloom or non-GMO varieties of plants.

Keeled Garlic is also known for its ability to naturalize, meaning it can spread and establish itself in an area without human intervention. This makes it a great choice for naturalistic or meadow-style gardens, where it can spread and create a beautiful carpet of foliage and flowers.

When harvesting Keeled Garlic, it's important to handle the bulbs gently to avoid damaging them. The bulbs can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months, making it easy to enjoy the plant's unique flavor and medicinal benefits throughout the year.

One interesting fact about Keeled Garlic is that it has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In ancient times, garlic was used to treat a variety of ailments, including infections, respiratory problems, and digestive issues. Modern research has confirmed many of these traditional uses, and studies have also shown that garlic may have other health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, improving cholesterol levels, and even boosting brain function.

Another interesting fact about Keeled Garlic is that it is not just the bulbs that are edible - the leaves and flowers are also edible and have a milder flavor than the bulbs. The leaves can be used in salads or as a garnish, while the flowers can be used to add color and flavor to soups or stews.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, Keeled Garlic has also been used for its insecticidal properties. Studies have shown that garlic extracts can repel or kill a variety of insects, including mosquitoes, ticks, and aphids. This makes it a popular choice for natural pest control in gardens and agricultural settings.

Overall, Keeled Garlic is a fascinating and versatile plant with a rich history and many uses. Its unique flavor, health benefits, and ornamental value make it a valuable addition to any garden or kitchen.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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