The shallot is a botanical variety (a cultivar) of the onion. Until 2010, the shallot was classified as a separate species. Shallots probably originated in Central or Southwest Asia, travelling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean.

The name "shallot" comes from Ashkelon, an ancient Canaanite city, where Classical-era Greeks believed shallots originated.

The skin colour of shallots can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots are extensively cultivated for culinary uses, propagated by offsets.

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