Wild Leek (Allium ampeloprasum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Wild Leek
Allium ampeloprasum
Alliaceae

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].

  • Medicinal Use

    This species has the same medicinal virtues as garlic, but in a much milder and less effective form[238]. 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[218]. It is also said to have anticancer activity[218]. 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[222].

    The bulb is said to be anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[4, 9, 14, 21, 46, 165]. The crushed bulb may be applied as a poultice to ease the pain of bites, stings etc[4, 9, 14, 21].

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked[2, 27, 61, 105]. The small bulbs can vary considerably in size from 2 – 6cm[200], they have a fairly strong leek to garlic flavour and are nice as a flavouring in cooked foods[K]. The bulbs of selected cultivars are very large with a mild garlic flavour[183].

    Leaves – raw or cooked[2]. A pleasant mild to strong garlic flavour, they are available from late autumn to the spring though they can become rather tough and fibrous as they get older[K].

    Flowers – raw. A similar flavour to the leaves but they have a somewhat dry texture and are best used as a flavouring in cooked foods[K].

    The bulbils have a mild garlic flavour and make a nice flavouring in salads and cooked foods. Although produced abundantly, they are quite fiddly to use because they are small[K]. They can also be pickled[142].

  • Cautionary Notes

    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[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, though it can also be sown in a cold frame in the spring[200]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Well-grown plants can be planted out into their final positions in late summer or the autumn, otherwise grow them on for a further year in pots and plant them out the following summer. Division in late summer or early autumn. Dig up the bulbs when the plants are dormant and divide the small bulblets at the base of the larger bulb. Replant immediately, either in the open ground or in pots in a cold frame. Bulbils – plant out as soon as they are ripe in late summer. The bulbils can be planted direct into their permanent positions, though you get better results if you pot them up and plant them out the following spring.
Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1]. Prefers a dry position[45]. Succeeds in clay soils[203]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. The wild leek is a rare native of Britain, found only in the south-west and Wales, though it should be hardy in most parts of the country. It comes into growth in the autumn, dying down in the summer, and makes a very pleasant winter leaf, either raw or cooked. It is a rather variable plant, especially in the amount of flowers and bulbils produced. The species produces mainly flowers with almost no bulbils, whilst the sub-species A. ampeloprasum babbingtonii (Babbington’s Leek) produces lots of bulbils and almost no flowers[17]. The cultivated leek (A. ampeloprasum porrum) is believed to have been developed from this plant whilst, in Germany and Italy, other forms have been selected for their edible bulbils[142]. The cultivar ‘Perizweibel’ is often used, the bulbils are solid rather than made up of layers and are popularly used for making pickles[183]. This cultivar does not set seed[183]. Another cultivated form of this plant produces very large, mild-garlic flavoured bulbs that are up to 500g in weight[183].They are known as elephant garlic[183]. The wild leek grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but it inhibits the growth of legumes[18, 20, 54]. This plant is a bad companion for alfalfa, each species negatively affecting the other[201]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
S. Europe to W. Asia. Possibly native in Britain in S.W. England and Wales[17].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.