The term shallot is used to describe two different Allium species of plant. The French grey challot or griselle, which has been considered to be the â€œtrue shallotâ€� by many, is Allium oschaninii, a species that grows wild from Central to Southwest Asia. Other varieties of shallot are Allium cepa var. aggregatum (multiplier onions), also known as A. ascalonicum. The botanical name of shallot is Allium ascalonicum Linn and it belongs to the family Alliaceae. Indian names are Ek-kanda-lasun or Gandana (Hindi, Marwari and Punjabi) or Gundhun (Bengali). Shallots probably originated in Asia, traveling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The name â€œshallotâ€� comes from Ashkelon, a city in Israel, where people in classical Greek times believed shallots originated. Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. Their skin color can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are much favored by chefs because of their firm texture and sweet, aromatic, yet pungent, flavor. This ambiguity[clarification needed] is further confused with scallions, also known as spring or green onions. In some countries, green onions are called shallots, and shallots are referred to by alternative names such as eschallot or eschalotte. Shallots for sale in Southern FranceThe shallot is a relative of the onion, and tastes a bit like an onion, but has a sweeter, milder flavor. They tend to be more expensive than onions, especially in the United States. They can be stored for at least 6 months. Shallots are extensively cultivated and much used in cookery, in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine. Shallots are propagated by offsets, which, in the Northern Hemisphere, are often planted in September or October, but the principal crop should not be planted earlier than February or the beginning of March. In planting, the tops of the bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and it is a commendable plan to draw away the soil surrounding the bulbs when their roots have taken hold. They should not be planted on ground recently manured. They come to maturity about July or August, although they can now be found year-round in supermarkets. Similar to onions, raw shallots release chemicals that irritate the eye when sliced, resulting in tears. See onion for a discussion of this phenomenon. Onion and shallot output in 2005Shallots appear to contain more flavonoids and phenols than other members of the onion family. In Australia, shallots are sometimes referred to as eschalottes or eshalotts. The latter names are preferred by those living in the city of Sydney. The term French shallot has also been used for Allium oschaninii. There is a very specific region of shallot gardening in south eastern Ghana.