Shallot (Allium ascalonicum L.) (also called shallot) is a plant of the Liliaceae family (Amaryllidaceae according to the modern APG classification). Similar to onion with which it shares many characteristics and similarities of use. The name designates both the plant and its bulb.
Shallot is a plant about 20–30 cm tall, with cylindrical leaves.
All the varieties of shallots resemble onions, but unlike these they have a composite bulb (not unique) and, at least traditionally, they prefer a vegetative reproduction. The inflorescence, when manifested in some specially selected varieties, is, as in all the species of the genus Allium, of the umbrella type, and the seeds are small and black.
The bulb is tunicate like that of the onion, but smaller (generally its diameter once peeled does not exceed 4–5 cm), and is often composed of two or three smaller bulbils united in a single tunicate bulb slightly larger, overall slightly more tapered than the onion. Generally it reaches a weight that varies from about 5 to 25 grams and is of different varieties, which are distinguished from each other according to the color of the outer sheaths (purplish green, red, red-brown, rosaceous red, violet, yellow, gray and white), their shape (spherical, rounded and elongated) and finally the flavor, which is also very influenced by the cultivation area.