categoryZCrops Crops List 

LEEK

GARDEN LEEK

Allium porrum

(Formerly: Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum)
Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]

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category
category8Crops
 
status
statusZcasual
 
flower
flower8bicolour
 
flower
flower8pink flower8lilac
 
flower
flower8beetroot
 
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ6
 
type
typeZglobed
 
type
typeZfringed
 
type
typeZbell
 
stem
stem8round
 
smell
smell8leek
leek

23rd Nov 2013, arable field, Tarlsecough Hall, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
A Winter variety of Leek being grown commercially. Possibly 'Blue Solaise' Giant Leeks or 'Empire' Leeks, which are winter-hardy and have dark-green leaves which take upon a purplish tinge in cold weather, it was (7°C).


23rd Nov 2013, arable field, Tarlsecough Hall, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The green weeds in the foreground show that colour-balance in the photo is accurate: the leaves really are a steel blue colour in cold weather, but hints of their true green-ness can be seen (centre left).


23rd Nov 2013, arable field, Tarlsecough Hall, Burscough, Lancs. Photo: © RWD
The leaves are long, linear, and peel off the main 'stem' in opposite pairs telescopic fashion. The vegetable, the leek itself, is just a long concentric cylinder of leaves (there is one lying uprooted but with its roots cut off just on the right.


11th Aug 2012, a garden, Oldham, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
Much shorter than Wild Leek, its nearest relative, only reaching up to 1m. Stems stout.


11th Aug 2012, a garden, Oldham, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
Flowers with six sepals, can be greenish, or pinkish as here.


11th Aug 2012, a garden, Oldham, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
The six sepals surround an apparently white and bell-shaped chamber with frayed rim which seems to include six white stamens bearing reddish-coloured anthers that protrude slightly.


11th Aug 2012, a garden, Oldham, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © Elizabeth Whatmough
One-third of the frayed white things on the white-coloured bell-shaped inner seem to be stamens; the other two-thirds frayed ends??


A variety of : Wild Leek Allium ampeloprasum) but is half the height at only 1m and has much broader leaves.

Some similarities to : the (very rare in the wild, but not in the garden) Round-Headed Leek Allium sphaerocephalon) but the tightly-packed globular head of pinkish-red flowers is of smaller diameter.

Slight resemblance to : Sand Leek Allium scorodoprasum) but that has an even smaller globular cluster and purple bulbils.

No relation to : Houseleek (Sepervivum tectorum) [a plant with similar name belonging to a differing family, The Stonecrop Family].

This is the familiar garden leek as bought in grocery shops for the long cylindrical white vegetable called a 'leek', which grows underground with only the long linear but somewhat broad leaves sheathing off. The leek itself consists of concentric rings of compacted leaves, much like those of the somewhat spherical onion.

Gardeners often plant them for the large and showy globular clusters of flowers that they produce, but it is probable that, by letting it flower, the plant diverts energy into the flowers and the resulting vegetable is not as good as it would have been had it been prevented from flowering.

The single stem, up to a metre high, carries the large globular cluster of white, greenish, or pinkish flowers, which have slightly protruding stamens tipped with reddish anthers. It can have flowers alone, or flowers with bulbils, but never bulbils alone.


  Allium porrum  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Alliaceae  

Distribution
 family8Onion & Garlic family8Alliaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Allium
Allium
(Onions)

LEEK

GARDEN LEEK

Allium porrum

(Formerly: Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum)
Onion & Garlic Family [Alliaceae]