Allium ampeloprasum

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Wild leek
A.ampeloprasum 1.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
A. ampeloprasum
Binomial name
Allium ampeloprasum

Allium ampeloprasum is a member of the onion genus Allium. The wild plant is commonly known as wild leek or broadleaf wild leek. Its native range is southern Europe to western Asia, but it is cultivated in many other places and has become naturalized in many countries.

Allium ampeloprasum is regarded as native to all the countries bordering on the Black, Adriatic, and Mediterranean Seas from Portugal to Egypt to Romania. In Russia and Ukraine, it is considered invasive except in Crimea, where it is native. It is also native to Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Iraq. It is considered naturalized in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic States, Belarus, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, China, Australia (all states except Queensland and Tasmania), Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the United States (southeastern region plus California, New York State, Ohio and Illinois), Galápagos, and Argentina.[2][3][4][5][6] In tidewater Virginia, where it is commonly known as the "Yorktown onion", it is protected by law in York County.[7]

The species may have been introduced to Britain by prehistoric people, where its habitat consists of rocky places near the coast in south-west England and Wales.[8][9]

Allium ampeloprasum has been differentiated into five cultivated vegetables, namely leek, elephant garlic, pearl onion, kurrat, and Persian leek.

Wild populations produce bulbs up to 3 cm across. Scapes are round in cross-section, each up to 180 cm tall, bearing an umbel of as many as 500 flowers. Flowers are urn-shaped, up to 6 mm across; tepals white, pink or red; anthers yellow or purple; pollen yellow.[3][10]


Allium ampeloprasum comprises several vegetables, of which the most important ones are:

  • leek
  • elephant garlic or great-headed garlic
  • pearl onion
  • kurrat,[8][11] Egyptian leek or salad leek – this variety has small bulbs, and primarily the leaves are eaten.
  • Persian leek (Allium ampeloprasum ssp. persicum) - a cultivated allium native to the middle east and Iran, grown for culinary purposes and is called tareh in Persian. The linear green leaves have a mild onion flavor and are eaten raw, either alone, or in food combinations.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Allium ampeloprasum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Allium ampeloprasum
  3. ^ a b McNeal Jr., Dale W.; Jacobsen, T. D. (2002). "Allium ampeloprasum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 26. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ "Allium ampeloprasum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  5. ^ Xu, Jiemei; Kamelin, Rudolf V. "Allium porrum". Flora of China. 24 – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  6. ^ Altervista, Schede di Botanica
  7. ^ Yorktown Onion Archived 2016-08-11 at the Wayback Machine. York County, Virginia.
  8. ^ a b "Allium ampeloprasum". Plants for a Future.
  9. ^ CHRISTOPHER D. PRESTON, DAVID A. PEARMAN, ALLAN R. HALL (2004) Archaeophytes in Britain Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 145 (3), 257–294 doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2004.00284.x, p. 264
  10. ^ Gleason, H. A. & A.J. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (ed. 2) i–910. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.
  11. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  12. ^ Mousavi, Amir; Kashi, Abedolkarim; Davoodi, Daryoush; Shariatpanahi, Mohammad Sanei (2006). "CHARACTERIZATION OF AN ALLIUM CULTIVATED IN IRAN: THE PERSIAN LEEK". Belgian Journal of Botany. 139 (1): 115–123. JSTOR 20794599.

External links[edit]