Allium medium G.Don
Allium opizii Wolfner
Briseis triquetra (L.) Salisb.
Nectaroscordum triquetrum (L.) Galasso & Banfi
Common Name: Three-Cornered Leek
Allium triquetrum is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing 2 - 3 leaves 15 - 50cm long and a flowering scape 10 - 40cm tall from an underground bulb. The plant divides quite freely and can form a large cluster of plants[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food. It is sometimes grown as an ornamental[
The plant is a garden escape in California, introduced from southwestern Europe, and is potentially a noxious weed.
Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
Western and central Mediterranean - France to Sicily, Morocco to Tunisia
Hedge banks and waste places on damp soils[
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Although a Mediterranean plant, Allium triquetrum is very tolerant of moister climates and has become naturalized in wetter temperate areas such as southern Britain. It is not, however, very cold tolerant, especially if the cold is accompanied by a moist climate. It is said to tolerate temperatures occasionally falling to between -5 and -10°c.
Prefers a rich moist but well-drained soil[
]. Shade tolerant[
], it is easily grown in a cool leafy soil[
] and grows well in light moist woodland[
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
The seeds have an oil-bearing appendage which is attractive to ants. The ants carry the seed away to eat the oil and then discard the seed, thus aiding dispersal of the plant[
The flowers are sweetly scented[
]. The picked flowers can remain fresh for several weeks[
Bulb - raw or cooked. The rather small bulb is up to 20mm in diameter[
], it has a mild garlic flavour and can be used as a flavouring in salads and cooked foods. It is harvested in early summer when the plant has died down and will store for at least 6 months[
Leaves - raw or cooked. A leek substitute[
]. The leaves are available from late autumn until the spring, they are nice in salads when they are young, or cooked as a vegetable or flavouring as they get older[
]. The leaves have a milder and more delicate flavour than onions[
Flowers - raw. Juicy with a mild garlic flavour, they make a tasty and decorative garnish on salads[
Although no specific mention of medicinal uses has been seen for this species, members of this genus are in general very healthy additions to the diet. They contain sulphur compounds (which give them their onion flavour) and when added to the diet on a regular basis they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive system and also tonify the circulatory system[
Allium species usually grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes[
]. They are, in general, bad companions for alfalfa - each species negatively affecting the other[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the juice of most species in this genus (especially those with a strong onion or garlic smell) can be used as a moth repellent[
The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a greenhouse or cold frame. It germinates quickly and can be grown on in the greenhouse for the first year, planting out the dormant bulbs in the late summer of the following year if they have developed sufficiently, otherwise grow on in pots for a further year. Stored seed can be sown in spring in a greenhouse.
Division in summer after the plants have died down. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.