Allium ampeloprasum

Quick Characteristics:

Height: 120-150 cm (3.9-4.9 ft)
Flower Colors: pink
Usage: edible leaves bulb
Life form: bulb

Allium ampeloprasum L. is the species known as the common leek. It is native to Europe and Asia, though it has been used by humans for centuries as a food and it is not known if its distribution was extended as a result. Photo by Wietse Mellema.

Allium ampeloprasum, Wietse Mellema

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum is what we call Elephant garlic. It forms large thickened scales that are similar to true garlic (Allium sativum), but it is much milder in flavor. It is occasionally grown as an ornamental, reaching heights of up to five feet tall. The leaves grow through the winter and begin to die by the time the umbels, up to 4" across, are in bloom. The flowers are a dull purple, somewhat urn-shaped and constricted at the mouth. The flowers bloom for a very long time, new ones appearing through the center of the ball. Small bees, wasps, and even hummingbirds have been known to take advantage of the large inflorescences. Photos from Travis Owen. The last photo shows the seed head.

Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum, Travis OwenAllium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum with small bee, Travis OwenAllium ampeloprasum var ampeloprasum seed pods, Travis Owen

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