** 2016 Appeal ** In order to extend our coverage of climate zones, we’ve identified around 700 plants to add to our database. To do this properly and at the same time improve the usability of our website we need extra funds in addition to our regular level of income. more >>

   Bookmark and Share
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List
Allium sativum ophioscorodon - (Link.)Döll.                
Common Name Serpent Garlic
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[76].
Habitats Not known in a truly wild situation.
Range C. Asia? Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium sativum ophioscorodon is a BULB growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Allium sativum ophioscorodon Serpent Garlic

(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium sativum ophioscorodon Serpent Garlic
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked. Widely used, especially in southern Europe, as a flavouring in a wide range of foods, both raw and cooked[244]. Garlic is a wonderfully nutritious and health giving addition to the diet, but it has a very strong flavour and so is mainly used in very small quantities as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods[2, 9, 14, 27, 33]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. The bulbs can be up to 6cm in diameter[200]. Bulbils - raw or cooked[K]. An excellent strong garlic flavour, though they are rather small and therefore fiddly to peel[K]. Leaves - raw or cooked. Chopped and used in salads, they are rather milder than the bulbs[200, K]. The Chinese often cultivate garlic especially for the leaves, these can be produced in the middle of winter in mild winters[206]. The flowering stems are used as a flavouring and are sometimes sold in Chinese shops[183]. The sprouted seed is added to salads[183].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anthelmintic;  Antiasthmatic;  Anticholesterolemic;  Antiseptic;  Antispasmodic;  Cancer;  Cholagogue;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Expectorant;  Febrifuge;  
Stimulant;  Stings;  Stomachic;  Tonic;  Vasodilator.

Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit[218]. The plant produces inhibitory effects on gram-negative germs of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group, indeed it possesses outstanding germicidal properties[240] and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay[244]. It is also said to have anticancer activity[218]. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning[244]. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy[222]. Recent research has also indicated that garlic reduces glucose metabolism in diabetics, slows the development of arteriosclerosis and lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients[238, 254]. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds[244]. The fresh bulb is much more effective medicinally than stored bulbs, extended storage greatly reduces the anti-bacterial action[244]. The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stings, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[4, 9, 14, 21, 46, 165].
Other Uses
Adhesive;  Fungicide;  Repellent.

The juice from the bulb is used as an insect repellent[7, 14]. It has a very strong smell and some people would prefer to be bitten[K]. The juice can also be applied to any stings in order to ease the pain[7, 14]. 3 - 4 tablespoons of chopped garlic and 2 tablespoons of grated soap can be infused in 1 litre of boiling water, allowed to cool and then used as an insecticide[201]. An excellent glue can be made from the juice[7], when this is spread on glass it enables a person to cut clean holes in the glass[7], The juice is also used as a glue in mending glass and china[46]. An extract of the plant can be used as a fungicide[18]. It is used in the treatment of blight and mould or fungal diseases of tomatoes and potatoes[201]. If a few cloves of garlic are spread amongst stored fruit, they will act to delay the fruit from rotting[7]. The growing plant is said to repel insects, rabbits and moles[14, 20].
Cultivation details                                         
Succeeds in most soils but prefers a sunny position in a moist light well-drained soil[1, 14, 16, 37]. Dislikes very acid soils[206]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.5 to 8.3. The bulb is liable to rot if grown in a wet soil[27, 52]. Hardy to at least -10°c[206]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Garlic is widely cultivated in most parts of the world for its edible bulb, which is used mainly as a flavouring in foods. This sub-species differs mainly in forming more bulbils on the flowering head, and this flowering head usually coils into 1- 2 loops before opening[200]. Since it produces these bulbils (which make an excellent garlic, though they are rather on the small side) as well as underground cloves, it can be more productive[K]. We often grow this plant for a number of years before digging it up - it forms larger and larger clumps each year, with an abundance of bulbils[K]. There are a number of named varieties[183]. Bulb formation occurs in response to increasing daylength and temperature[200]. It is also influenced by the temperature at which the cloves were stored prior to planting. Cool storage at temperatures between 0 and 10°c will hasten subsequent bulb formation, storage at above 25°c will delay or prevent bulb formation[200, 206]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
Plant out the cloves in late autumn for an early summer crop[33, 200]. They can also be planted in late winter to early spring though yields may not be so good. Plant the cloves with their noses just below the soil surface[200]. If the bulbs are left in the ground all year, they will often produce tender young leaves in the winter[K]. Bulbils, harvested in late summer, are best sown immediately in pots in a cold greenhouse, planting out in late spring after the last expected frosts[K]. They can also be stored in a cool place over the winter and then be planted outdoors like onion sets. They will not make such a big plant in their first year, however[K].
Related Plants                                         
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Allium acuminatumHooker's Onion, Tapertip onion32
Allium aflatunensePersian Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Allium akaka 32
Allium altaicum 32
Allium ampeloprasumWild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek53
Allium ampeloprasum babingtoniiBabington's Leek33
Allium angulare 32
Allium angulosumMouse Garlic32
Allium atropurpureum 32
Allium bisceptrumAspen Onion, Twincrest onion32
Allium bodeanum 32
Allium bolanderiBolander's Onion32
Allium brevistylumShortstyle Onion32
Allium canadenseCanadian Garlic, Meadow garlic, Fraser meadow garlic, Hyacinth meadow garlic42
Allium canadense mobilenseCanadian Garlic52
Allium carinatumKeeled Garlic32
Allium carolinianum 32
Allium cepaOnion, Garden onion53
Allium cepa aggregatumPotato Onion43
Allium cepa ascalonicumShallot53
Allium cepa proliferumTree Onion53
Allium cernuumNodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion52
Allium chinenseRakkyo42
Allium condensatum 32
Allium cupanii 32
Allium douglasiiDouglas' Onion32
Allium dregeanumWild Onion32
Allium drummondiiPrairie Onion, Drummond's onion32
Allium fistulosumWelsh Onion52
Allium flavumSmall Yellow Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[7]Chiej. R. Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[16]Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook.
A good guide to growing vegetables in temperate areas, not entirely organic.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[27]Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden.
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
[33]Organ. J. Rare Vegetables for Garden and Table.
Unusual vegetables that can be grown outdoors in Britain. A good guide.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[52]Larkcom. J. Salads all the Year Round.
A good and comprehensive guide to temperate salad plants, with full organic details of cultivation.
[54]Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[165]Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
An excellent small herbal.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[206]Larkcom J. Oriental Vegetables
Well written and very informative.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[222]Foster. S. & Duke. J. A. A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants. Eastern and Central N. America.
A concise book dealing with almost 500 species. A line drawing of each plant is included plus colour photographs of about 100 species. Very good as a field guide, it only gives brief details about the plants medicinal properties.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
Vaidya K.S.jayahsree Tue Sep 18 2007
Allium sativum is named Lashuna in Sanskrit language , the language of Ayurveda. among the manifold pharmacological activities attributed to garlic few to add to the list given on this page. Garlic is a very effective galactogogue. To enhance the lactation/breast milk secretion garlic coves are boiled in milk and given to the lactating mother. garlic is also known for its fertility effect. In young children garlic and jaggery paste acts as an effective remedy for respoiratary illness like coungh and cold.
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
Add a comment/link                                         

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Allium sativum ophioscorodon  

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site