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Allium porrum - L.

Common Name Leek, Garden leek
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards 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].
Habitats Not known in wild.
Range Original habitat is obscure.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Allium porrum Leek, Garden leek


Allium porrum Leek, Garden leek
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium porrum is a BULB growing to 0.9 m (3ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Root
Edible Uses:

The leaves and long white blanched stem are eaten cooked[2, 16, 37, 183]. They can also be cut into thin slices and be added to salads[183]. A mild onion flavour with a delightful sweetness[183, K]. Bulb - raw or cooked. The bulb is produced in the plants second year of growth (that is, after it is normally harvested). The bulb is somewhat larger if the plant is prevented from flowering[K]. Flowers - raw. Used as a garnish on salads, though they are rather on the dry side and less pleasant than many other members of the genus[K].

Medicinal Uses

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Anthelmintic  Antiasthmatic  Anticholesterolemic  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Cholagogue  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  
Expectorant  Febrifuge  Stimulant  Stings  Stomachic  Tonic  Vasodilator


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].

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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].

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a sunny position in a light well-drained soil[1] but succeeds in most soils[16]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers an open situation[1, 37]. Does best in a soil that was well fed for a previous crop[1]. Tolerates a pH in the range 5.2 to 8.3. The leek is a widely cultivated vegetable, there are many named varieties[183]. Young plants are often planted quite deeply in the soil (8 - 10cm deep) in order to blanch the lower stem, it is also a common practice to earth up the growing plants in order to blanch right the way up the stems. Whilst this does make the stems more tender, it also results in a loss of minerals and vitamins. Although commonly treated as a biennial, this plant is a true perennial, perennating by means of small lateral growths and often developing a roundish bulb at the base of the main growth[1]. A relatively slow-growing plant, it can be interplanted with faster maturing species such as lettuces[201]. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. Grows well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, celery, celariac, 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].

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Propagation

Seed - for an early crop, or for larger plants, sow the seed in early spring in a greenhouse and plant out in May. For smaller or later plants, sow April in an outdoor seedbed and plant out as space permits in July or even August.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Allium cepa aggregatumPotato OnionBulb1.2 4-8  LMNM433
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