Is the mold on my garlic embellisia? If so, can it still be used for seed garlic?


I am trying to identify the type of mold on my garlic. Most of it looks like embellisia but I am concerned about the possibility of black mold.  If it is embellesia, we were planning to save some for seed garlic, is this a bad idea?


Rebecca Long, Sustainable Agriculture and Horticulture Professional

Thank you for reaching out. While it does appear to be embellisia, a proper diagnosis requires examination under a microscope. Because our diagnostic lab is temporarily closed, we are recommending people use the University of Massachusetts Amherst Plant Diagnostic Laboratory. Please note there is a fee required for sample submission.

For embellisia skin blotch, you can remove affected layers before storing. Generally damage is only cosmetic. Since this is a soil borne fungus that will remain for several years it is best to plant disease free garlic and to rotate away from the infected area for several years, if possible. However, this disease is incredibly widespread and so hard to avoid, even with rotation.

Black mold is generally an issue only after harvest and affected layers can also be removed. For next year, it may be worth evaluating your curing and storage conditions. Make sure not to harvest garlic when it’s already wet and do not wash. Properly cure before storing, ideally at temperatures of about 60°F with a relative humidity of about 50 percent.