Allium Triquetrum - Three cornered leek

In August 2006 we picked up 4 small bulbs that were rolling around loose on the surface when we visited St Michael's Mount in Cornwall, not knowing what they were. We brought them home, forgot about them over winter and planted them about June - they were a little shrivelled by then - and they soon started to grow. It was not until they started to flower that we identified them, for we had managed to knock them out of season! The photos were taken 12th August 2007 - the plants are just coming into flower! They continued flowering through winter, only finally dyeing down in early March 2008! It's now May 2008 and the bulbs are dormant, so presumably will be back in seasonal sync next year!

However, each of the four original bulbs had become about 8, and, once we had identified the plants we sampled the leaves and found then excellent. We started using them (sparingly, for we had not a lot of stock) in salads. Once we have an adequate colony we will make lots of use of them as leaves, flowers and bulbs are all edible and good.

The plant can be very invasive in the right environment - it is ubiquitous in the Scilly Isles, but occurs in south east England. August 2006 was extremely wet - the bulbs are not normally on the surface, so had been washed out by the very heavy rains.

Jan 2009. The bulbs were planted in our garden (near Cambridge) last autumn, and they started to leaf in late autumn. They seem to be standing the frost well and are clearly ready to spring into vigorous growth in spring.

This is a Mediterranean species which clearly enjoys balmy winters: it is an invasive weed in the Scilly Isles - as you can clearly see if you watch any program filmed in the Isles in spring! How far north it will flourish we do not know.

Later (13th of July, 2009).
2008/2009 winter was hard: the Triquetrums in our garden did not flourish, but are still alive. However they clearly are much stunted compared to those we saw on an Easter visit to the Forest of Dean.

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First published: Sun,11 May 2008
Last modified: Sat, 25 Nov 2017 11:36:04 GMT
Page's Author: Richard Torrens
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