Purple Stripe garlics are ophios (hardnecks) and are usually vividly striped with purplish vertical stripes decorating the bulb wrappers, hence their name. In between the purple stripes, their bulb wrappers are usually very white and thick. Some sub-varieties are even heavily splotched with purple. Coloration is affected by growing conditions, particularly weather and sometimes they are strongly colored and at other times more white than purple. They tend to be rather rich in flavor and not overly hot, though some are milder, and store fairly well. They tend to mature about midway through the local harvest season although some mature late.
Standard Purple Stripe garlics make the sweetest baking garlics of all. The first time I tried roasted Chesnok Red garlic, I thought someone had put some sugar in it - they are sweet. You can add roasted Purple Stripe garlic to partially thawed vanilla ice cream and re-freeze it and it will have the taste and texture of butter brickle ice cream.
Purple Stripe garlics grow well in most of the USA and the marbled Purple Stripes like Metechi and Siberian have consistently grown very well here in West central Texas and they seem to be more resistant to damage by early hot weather than most other kinds.
In addition to the standard purple stripes, there are two groups of sub-varieties, the glazed group and the marbled group. Both have thicker bulb wrappers but the glazed group has almost glassy-looking bulb wrappers at times, thus their name. The Marbled group could be easily mistaken for Porcelains were it not for their bold colors and elongated clove tips. All Purple Stripe garlics have greatly elongated clove tips and that can be very helpful in identifying Purple Stripes from other garlics. Marbled Purple Stripes have fewer cloves per bulb than the standard group and most have a much hotter raw taste. Both subgroups are harder to find than the standard group.
Purple stripes tend to be very beautiful garlics and some are almost solid purple. that tend to be either very strong, such as Metechi or very mild, such as Siberian. All Purple Stripe garlics have extremely long clove cover tips that stick up three inches or more above the and up the hardneck. No other variety has such clove cover tips and that makes it easier to identify garlics. Persian Star, for example, has extremely long pointed clove covers tips that protrude several inches up the scape above the clove and has a wonderful rich deep medium flavor.