Allium triquetrum

Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]

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3rd March 2012, Brittany, France. Photo: © Keith Harrison
A mixture of narrow grass-like sharply-keeled leaves and curly at the tip plus three-angled stalks bearing a small cluster of thin drooping stalks each bearing a drooping white flower.

Photo: © Keith Harrison
A short plant to 45cm in height.

26th May 2015, Monks Dale, White Peaks, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Similar to Bluebell, but white and with Shorter and three-angled stems with concave sides.

26th May 2014, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Un-like Bluebell has flowers on longer stalks. The sepal tube is very short and with a short lighter-green equilaterally-triangular teeth. Note the two long white paper-thin narrow sheaths that once housed all the flower buds; it will shrivel well before the flowers decay.

26th May 2014, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD

21st May 2013, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Flowers white and with splashes of green as do Snowdrops, but as narrow stripes on the inside of the trumpet-like flowers rather than as green chevrons on the outside of Snowdrops.

21st May 2013, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Striking narrow green stripe down the centre of each inside of tepal, only faintly visible from the out side.

21st May 2013, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Six petals (actually tepals, three inner ones and three slightly wider outer ones), flared trumpet-like, with a narrow green stripe down the centre on the inside of the petal, stopping short of the pointed tip.

26th May 2014, a garden, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Six stamens inside with creamy-yellow anthers. pollen yellow.

8th May 2011, graveyard, Ballykeeroge, Campile, Co. Wexford, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Flower horn has a straight conical section in the centre before flaring out horn-like.

8th May 2011, graveyard, Ballykeerogue, Campile, Co. Wexford, Eire. Photo: © Paula O'Meara
Leaves have a semi-circular indentation running along the centre of the leaf, like a grove for a marble. Leaves sharply keeled for rigidity, but curly near the top.

20th May 2013, Leeds & L/pool Canal, Mill Hill, Blackburn. Photo: © RWD
Hollow slightly isosceles triangular stem. It has three concave sides.

Some similarities to :

  • Ramsons (Allium ursinum) for that too has triangularstems (but they are isosceles triangles, rather than the right-angled triangles of Three-cornered Garlic). Ransoms have broader and lanceolate leaves, and flowers that are not Daffodil-shaped. The flowers lack a green stripe on the petals.
  • Few-Flowered Garlic (Allium paradoxum) but that has square stems, fewer flowers and, lacking a longish conical section to the flowers, with the flowers more abruptly flared.

Slight resemblance to : many other Garlic species flowers.

No relation to : Three-cornered hat [a Ballet by Falla] nor to Three-Nerved Sandwort nor Three-lobed Crowfoot [un-related plants].

Inhabits dampish places where it is warmer in Winter (the last few winters in the UK (2009 - 2012) must have been problematic for it). Considered a problem plant in some areas where it spreads un-controllably. Occupies mainly southern parts of the UK, mainly within 50 miles of the sea, with far fewer inland locations. The proximity of the sea keeps it warmer in winter and more able to propagate.

The flowers are all initially en-wrapped within two white papery bracts, which open to reveal between three and 15 drooping trumpet-shaped flowers on stalks that are longer than are the flowers. Like all alliums, grows from a bulb. The fruit is green, between 4mm and 6mm across and globular. The seeds within are black, oblong and between 2mm - 3mm long.

When damaged, smells of garlic. Both leaves and bulbs can be eaten, although they are moderately poisonous if eaten to excess, especially to dogs.


Like many Allium species Three-Cornered Garlic contains Cystein Sulfoxides such as Methiin, Alliin, IsoAlliin and Propiin, with the first three dominating.

Methiin (SMCO or S-Methyl-L-Cystein Sulfoxide) is a non-proteinogenic amino acid (NPAA) which can mimic the real amino acid Cystein. Methiin and Propiin (SPCO or S-Propyl-L-Cystein Sulfoxide) are both substances which occur not only in the Alliaceae family but also in the Brassicaceae plant family.

The base of these Cystein Sulfoxides is Cystein (sometimes spelled Cysteine), a sulfur-containing amino-acid absent from many mammals and only semi-essential to their well-being, for instance when they are infants, old or un-well; they obtain it from eating foods containing Methionine such as Garlic, Onions, Broccoli, Oats, Brussels Sprouts, and in milk, eggs and many meats.

Cystein(e) should not be confused with Cystine, which is the oxidized dimer of Cysteine which functions biologically both as a site of redox reactions and as a mechanical linkage in proteins in order for them to retain their 3-D structure (which is vital in order that they preserve their function). [Neither Cystein nor Cystine should not be confused with Cytosine, a Pyrimidine derivative and one of the four main DNA bases to be found in both RNA and in DNA]. Cystine is a dimer consisting of two fused units of Cystein, the result having been partially oxidized.

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Allium triquetrum

Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]

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