Extending the collection of garlic (Allium sativum L.) accessions is an important means that is available for broadening the genetic variability of this cultivated plant, with regard to yield, quality, and tolerance to biotic and abiotic traits; it is also an important means for restoring fertility and flowering. In the framework of the EU project Garlic and Health, 120 garlic accessions were collected in Central Asia - the main centre of garlic diversity. Plants were documented and thereafter maintained in field collections in both Israel and The Netherlands. The collection was evaluated for biological and economic traits. Garlic clones vary in most vegetative characteristics (leaf number, bulb size and structure), as well as in floral scape elongation and inflorescence development. A clear distinction was made between incomplete bolting and bolting populations; most of the accessions in the latter populations produced flowers with fertile pollen and receptive stigma. Wide variations were recorded with regard to differentiation of topsets, their size, number and rapidity of development. Furthermore, significant variation in organo-sulphur compounds (alliin, isoalliin, allicin and related dipeptides) was found within garlic collections and between plants grown under differing environmental conditions. Genetic fingerprinting by means of AFLP markers revealed three distinct groups within this collection, differing also in flowering ability and organo-S content.