Herb: Few-Flowered Leek


Latin name: Allium paradoxum


Family: Alliaceae (Onion Family)



Medicinal use of Few-Flowered Leek:

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.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Bulb


Height:
25 cm
(9 3/4 inch)

Flovering:
April
to May

Habitat of the herb:

Hedge banks and waste places on damp soils.

Edible parts of Few-Flowered Leek:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The rather small bulb is up to 10mm 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.

Other uses of the herb:

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

Propagation of Few-Flowered Leek:

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. Bulbils, harvested in mid to late spring, can either be planted immediately or be stored and then planted in late summer. Division in summer after the plants have died down. Very easy, the bulbs divide fairly freely and can be dug up then replanted direct into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hedge banks and waste places on damp soils.

Known hazards of Allium paradoxum:

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.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.