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Hairy Garlic

Allium subhirsutum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, rocky places, woodland.

White, 6 petals
Umbels of white flowers, up to 8cm across. The petals have pink midveins. 6 beige/yellow anthers. Pollinated by bees and insects.
The fruit is a seed capsule. The seeds ripen in June and July.
Long, narrow leaves which taper at their tips. The leaves are hairy along the margins. In leaf from October to June.
Smells of garlic.
Other Names:
Hairy Onion.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Allium subhirsutum, commonly known as the hairy onion, is a species of wild onion that is native to the southeastern United States. It is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb. It typically produces a single stem with a dense cluster of green leaves that are hairless or nearly so on the surface, and flowers that are pink to purplish in color and have six petals. The plant has a strong onion smell when the leaves are crushed. it is known for its ornamental and culinary uses in the wildflower gardens and the kitchen.


Hairy garlic, or Allium subhirsutum, is a unique species of Allium that is native to the Mediterranean region. This plant is commonly found in rocky habitats, and it is known for its distinct appearance and flavorful bulbs. In this blog, we will explore some of the fascinating features of hairy garlic, including its physical characteristics, growing conditions, culinary uses, and health benefits.

Physical Characteristics

Hairy garlic is a perennial herb that grows up to 30 cm in height. The plant has long, slender leaves that are green in color and hairy on the surface, hence the name "hairy garlic." The flowers are small and white, and they bloom in clusters at the top of a long stalk. The bulbs of hairy garlic are small, round, and covered in a papery skin. They have a pungent aroma and a strong, savory flavor that is similar to regular garlic.

Growing Conditions

Hairy garlic thrives in warm, dry climates and prefers well-drained soil. It can be grown from seeds or bulbs, and it is relatively easy to cultivate. The plant requires moderate watering and should be fertilized regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Hairy garlic is also resistant to many common pests and diseases, making it a low-maintenance plant for home gardeners.

Culinary Uses

Hairy garlic is a popular ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, where it is used to flavor a variety of dishes. The bulbs can be minced and added to sauces, stews, and marinades, or roasted and used as a topping for bread and pizza. Hairy garlic can also be sliced thinly and used raw in salads or as a garnish for grilled meats and fish. The leaves of the plant can be used in much the same way as chives or scallions, adding a fresh, savory flavor to soups, salads, and omelets.

Health Benefits

Like other members of the Allium family, hairy garlic has several health benefits. It is a rich source of antioxidants, which can help to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease. Hairy garlic is also high in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, and potassium. Some studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic may help to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve cholesterol levels.

Some Facts about Hairy Garlic

Here are some additional facts about hairy garlic:

  • Hairy garlic is sometimes known by other common names, including rough garlic and shaggy garlic.

  • The plant is often confused with wild garlic (Allium ursinum) and ramsons (Allium ursinum). While they are similar in appearance, hairy garlic has a more pungent flavor and a different growth pattern.

  • Hairy garlic has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including infections, digestive disorders, and respiratory problems.

  • The plant has a long history of culinary use, dating back to ancient Rome and Greece. It was prized for its strong, pungent flavor and was often used to flavor meats, soups, and sauces.

  • In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, hairy garlic has also been used as a natural insect repellent. The plant's strong aroma is thought to repel pests such as aphids and spider mites.

  • Hairy garlic is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions. It is often used in xeriscaping and other low-water landscaping projects.

  • The plant's scientific name, Allium subhirsutum, comes from the Latin words "sub" (meaning "somewhat") and "hirsutum" (meaning "hairy"), referring to the plant's slightly hairy leaves.

Overall, hairy garlic is a unique and versatile herb that offers a range of benefits for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Whether you are a fan of its strong, savory flavor or are looking for a natural remedy for common ailments, hairy garlic is definitely worth exploring further.

Some Additional Facts and Tips

Here are some additional facts and tips about hairy garlic:

  • Hairy garlic is a hardy plant that can grow in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil.

  • The plant is often grown as an ornamental herb in rock gardens, borders, and containers. Its long, slender leaves and delicate flowers add a unique texture and color to any garden.

  • When harvesting hairy garlic, it is best to wait until the leaves begin to yellow and wilt, signaling that the bulbs are fully mature. The bulbs can then be dug up and stored in a cool, dry place for later use.

  • Hairy garlic can be used in much the same way as regular garlic, but its flavor is stronger and more pungent. Use it sparingly in dishes to avoid overpowering other flavors.

  • To preserve the flavor and aroma of hairy garlic, it is best to chop or mince the bulbs just before using them. This helps to release the volatile oils that give the herb its distinctive taste and scent.

  • Hairy garlic can also be infused in oil or vinegar to create a flavorful condiment for salads and other dishes. Simply crush a few cloves of garlic and let them steep in oil or vinegar for a few days before using.

  • If you are interested in growing hairy garlic, it is best to purchase bulbs from a reputable seed supplier. Plant the bulbs in the fall, spacing them about 4-6 inches apart, and water them regularly until they are established.

Overall, hairy garlic is a fascinating and versatile herb that offers a range of benefits for home gardeners and cooks alike. Whether you are looking for a natural remedy for common ailments or a flavorful addition to your favorite dishes, hairy garlic is definitely worth exploring further.