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Allium paradoxum - (M.Bieb.)G.Don.                
                 
Common Name Few-Flowered Leek
Family Alliaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards 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[76].
Habitats Hedge banks and waste places on damp soils[17, 90].
Range W. Asia - Iran. Naturalized in a number of places in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium paradoxum is a BULB growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone 8. It is in leaf 6-Nov It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen in June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon


Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Allium paradoxum Few-Flowered Leek


(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium paradoxum Few-Flowered Leek
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; not Deep Shade; Hedgerow; Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The rather small bulb is up to 10mm in diameter[200], 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[K]. Leaves - raw or cooked. A leek substitute[K]. 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[K]. The leaves have a milder and more delicate flavour than onions[K]. Flowers - raw. Juicy with a mild garlic flavour, they make a tasty and decorative garnish on salads[K].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anticholesterolemic;  Digestive;  Tonic.

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[K].
Other Uses
Repellent.

The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[20].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a rich moist but well-drained soil[1, 42]. Plants grow well in a heavy wet clay soil in north-west England, where they are self-sowing[203]. Plants are shade tolerant[31], they are easily grown in a cool leafy soil[90] and grow well in light moist woodland[203]. Plants are not very hardy outside the milder areas of Britain, they tolerate temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c[200]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. There are two forms of this species. The sub-species A. paradoxum paradoxum produces mainly bulbils instead of flowers, this form is naturalized in Britain and can spread quite invasively[K]. The sub-species A. paradoxum normale does not form bulbils. It produces a large umbel of flowers in the spring and is very ornamental at this time. It is not invasive[200, K]. The seeds have an oil-bearing appendage which is attractive to ants. The ants carry the seed away to eat the oil and then discard the seed, thus aiding dispersal of the plant[203]. 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]. The picked flowers can remain fresh for several weeks[89]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
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.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
(M.Bieb.)G.Don.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
17200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[17]Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles.
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[31]Brown. Shade Plants for Garden and Woodland.
[42]Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs.
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
[54]Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds.
Interesting reading.
[89]Polunin. O. and Huxley. A. Flowers of the Mediterranean.
A very readable pocket flora that is well illustrated. Gives some information on plant uses.
[90]Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs
Superbly illustrated, it gives brief details on cultivation and native habitat.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[203]Davies. D. Alliums. The Ornamental Onions.
Covers about 200 species of Alliums. A very short section on their uses, good details of their cultivation needs.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
Elizabeth H.
evanjelene kennedy Sat Mar 14 2009

geocities CANDATA:Medicinal plants used in the treatment of cancer

Elizabeth H.
craig Thu Dec 10 2009
Whilst this is undoubtedly a very enlightening & useful website, its failure to highlight the dangers of known invasive species is rather alarming. Allium paradoxum is on Plantlife'sTOP 20 ALIEN INVASIVE SPECIES WHICH THREATEN THE UK’S FLORA, "Very invasive woodland and riverbank plant, spreading rapidly, especially in southern Scotland. Competes with native spring flowers."

Plantlife

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