A strong-tasting bulbous biennial having slender tubelike leaves. The onion (Allium cepa) was one of the items of diet for which the mixed crowd and the Israelites yearned in the wilderness after being liberated from Egypt. (Nu 11:4, 5) In that land of Israel’s captivity, onions were extensively cultivated. The Greek historian Herodotus (II, 125) even tells of an inscription that listed onions among the foods provided for the laborers on a certain Egyptian pyramid. In Egypt, onions, usually tied together in a bundle, were offered to the deities, although the priests were not permitted to eat them. The onions of Egypt have been described as soft, and therefore more easily digestible than other varieties, as well as sweet tasting rather than sharp, or acrid.