Save your seeds: Onion

BOTANICAL NAME: Allium cepa. In Latin, allium means garlic and cepa means onion.


Onion is a hardy biennial from the southern parts of Russia and Iran. It was disseminated by the Indo-European hordes in their numerous migrations.

Very ancient forms of onions are still for sale in Middle Eastern markets. Onions were considered sacred and were eaten in copious quantities by the Egyptians who honoured them in some of their monuments.

In recent times, UN officials have found old varieties in Iran that show resistance to thrips and this has greatly benefited the industry. Thrips are slender insects with stout, coneshaped mouth parts with which they scrape the onion stems and suck out the sap, causing yellowing of the leaves.


Onions have many close relatives, such as A. cepa var. aggregatum (French shallot, potato onion and multiplier