Allium ampeloprasum Kurrat Group
Allium ampeloprasum is a very variable species and has been treated in various ways in the past, with many subspecies and vars being recognized. Current classification in the 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families' (2016), treats it as one variable species, but does not recognize any subspecies or vars, Instead, it recognizes different cultivated groups of plants and, since all of these different forms, including the various cultivated forms, intergrade into each other, we are following this treatment here. We are, however, also including Babbington's Leek (Allium ampeloprasum babbingtonii) here as a separate subspecies since it is clearly distinct in its production of bulbils and therefore has a somewhat different range of uses[
Allium kurrat Schweinf. ex K.Krause
Common Name: Kurrat
Allium ampeloprasum Kurrat Group is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing 6 - 9 leaves 10 - 30cm long sheathed around a flowering scape 45 - 180cm tall, growing from a much reduced underground bulb.
Kurrat, also known as Egyptian Leek or Salad Leek, is cultivated mainly in Egypt and the Middle East. It is closely related to the traditional leek, but is grown mainly for its leaves, which are used mainly in salads and can be harvested on a cut and come again basis.
Although no individual reports regarding this species have been seen, there have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
A cultivated form of Allium ampeloprasum
Not found in the wild
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[
]. Prefers a dry position[
]. Succeeds in clay soils[
]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3.
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
Kurrat is a leek-like plant grown mainly as a cut and come again leaf crop. It originated in Egypt and surrounding countries and most cultivation still takes place in that region.
The plant is usually grown from seed.
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. A pleasant mild to strong garlic flavour, they are often eaten in salads[
Flowers and young flowering stems - raw. A similar flavour to the leaves but they develop a somewhat dry texture as they mature and are then best used as a flavouring in cooked foods[
This species has the same medicinal virtues as garlic, but in a much milder and less effective form[
]. These virtues are as follows:-
Garlic has a very long folk history of use in a wide range of ailments, particularly ailments such as ringworm, Candida and vaginitis where its fungicidal, antiseptic, tonic and parasiticidal properties have proved of benefit[
]. The plant produces inhibitory effects on gram-negative germs of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group, indeed it possesses outstanding germicidal properties[
] and can keep amoebic dysentery at bay[
]. It is also said to have anticancer activity[
]. It has also been shown that garlic aids detoxification of chronic lead poisoning[
]. Daily use of garlic in the diet has been shown to have a very beneficial effect on the body, especially the blood system and the heart. For example, demographic studies suggest that garlic is responsible for the low incidence of arteriosclerosis in areas of Italy and Spain where consumption of the bulb is heavy[
]. Recent research has also indicated that garlic reduces glucose metabolism in diabetics, slows the development of arteriosclerosis and lowers the risk of further heart attacks in myocardial infarct patients[
]. Externally, the expressed juice is an excellent antiseptic for treating wounds[
The fresh bulb is much more effective medicinally than stored bulbs, extended storage greatly reduces the anti-bacterial action[
The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stings, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[
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 - for an early crop, or for larger plants, sow the seed in early spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. For smaller or later plants, sow mid spring in an outdoor seedbed and plant out as space permits in mid to late summer.