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Where do Onions Come From

Onions are a strongly flavored edible bulb commonly used in cooking. There are many varieties of onion and the flavor of these can range from strong to sweet. These varieties of common onion come from the onion plant (Allium cepa) and this is closely related to other species that may also be called onions as well as chives, garlic, leek and shallots. These plants have been known and used by humans for many years, but the domestication of the onion didn’t occur until later. Let’s find out where onions come from.

How do onions grow?
We already know that onions come from the onion plant. Onions are planted from seeds and grow like any other plant. The above ground portion of the plant is not eaten and the edible portion, called the bulb, grows underground and is harvested after a specific growing period.

Where do onions originate from?
The ancestor of the common onion is believed to have come from Central Asia or the Middle East, but it wasn’t cultivated until 3000 BC in ancient Egypt. From here it spread to the Middle East, Asia, Europe and eventually the world.

Where do onions grow today?
The largest producers of onions are China (20.5 million metric tons), India (13.3 million tons), United States (3.3 million tons), Egypt (2.2 million tons) and Iran (1.9 million tons). Large number of onions are also grown in Turkey, Pakistan, Brazil, Russia and the Republic of Korea.

Did you know?
Christopher Columbus introduced the common onion to the Americas. He was surprised to discover native wild onions in the region that were commonly used by the indigenous people.

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