Allium paradoxum is a herbaceous perennial growing from a small solitary bulb to about 20–40 cm in height. It has much narrower leaves, from 5 to 25 mm wide, than Allium ursinum but a similar 'garlicky' smell. The flower stem is triangular in section. Most of the flowers are replaced by little bulbs or bulbils and the few (usually only one) proper flowers are white and hermaphrodite.
It was introduced to the British Isles in 1823 and was first recorded in the wild there in 1863, near Edinburgh. It is considered an invasive, non-native species in Europe. In England and Wales, the species is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and as such, it is illegal to plant in the wild. The smell of the plant is particularly noticeable to a person who is approaching an area where it is growing.
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The few-flowered leek is edible and can be eaten raw as well as made into dishes such as pesto. It can also be used as a herb to flavour food, much in the same way as other wild garlics.
- Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
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- Marschall von Bieberstein, Friedrich August. 1819. Flora Taurico-Caucasica 3: 267-268 in Latin, as Scilla paradoxa
- Don, George 1832. Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Society 6: 72 description in Latin, commentary in English
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- "Plants listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales". Plantlife. 2010. Archived from the original on 2013-04-30. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- "Allium paradoxum (Few-flowered Garlic)". Online Atlas of the British and Irish Flora. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
- Lambion, J., Delvosalle, L. & Duvigneaud, J. (2004). Nouvelle flore de la Belgique du G. D. de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des régions voisines , ed. 5: 1-1167. Edition du Patrimoine du Jardin botanique national de Belgique