Allium scorodoprasum

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Sand leek, rocambole
Illustration Allium scorodoprasum0.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. scorodoprasum
Binomial name
Allium scorodoprasum

The sand leek (Allium scorodoprasum), also known as rocambole, is a perennial wild onion. It should not be confused with rocambole garlic, which is A. sativum var. ophioscorodon.


The sand leek is a perennial plant with an egg-shaped bulb. The plant produces two to five unstalked leaves, the bases of which are sheath-like. Each leaf blade is broad and linear, flat, with an entire margin and parallel veins. The edges of the leaf and the central vein are rough to the touch. The flowering stem is cylindrical, growing to a height of 30 to 90 cm (12 to 35 in) and the upper half is leafless. The whole plant has an onion-like aroma. The inflorescence is a globular cluster surrounded by membranous bracts in bud which wither when the flowers open. Each individual flower is stalked and has a purple perianth 4 to 7 mm (0.16 to 0.28 in) long. There are six tepals, six stamens and a pistil formed from three fused carpels. Mixed with the flowers are a number of purple bulbils. The fruit is a capsule, but the seeds seldom set, and propagation usually takes place when the bulbils are knocked off and grow into new plants.[1]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The sand leek is native to most of Europe, plus western Asia and Syria. [2] Its natural habitat is damp broad-leaved woodland, forest margins, shores, hillside meadows and hedgerows. It was at one time used as a kitchen herb and can sometimes be found near old habitations.[1]


According to garlic grower Ron Engeland, A. scorodoprasum is edible but seldom cultivated, and has a shorter flower stalk and fewer and more inconsistently shaped cloves than Rocambole garlic. Sand leek also has a dark violet bulb wrapper.[3]

Elephant garlic (properly A. ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is also sometimes incorrectly sold as A. scorodoprasum.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Sand leak: Allium scorodoprasum". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  2. ^ "Allium scorodoprasum". Plants For A Future. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  3. ^ Growing Great Garlic, 2nd Edition, Filaree Productions, 1992, p. 7.