Facts and information

Onions are part of the allium family, which contains over 300 species.

  • The allium family also includes leeks, garlic, spring onions, shallots and chives. The pungent onion smell is caused by the presence of allicins, which get released when part of the plant is cut. This is what causes your eyes to water.
  • Onions are planted at different times throughout the year, depending on the region and climatic conditions.
  • It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months months for onions to germinate from seed to onion bulb. Onions are ready to harvest when 50 to 80 per cent of the tops have fallen.