Allium triquetrum - L.
Common Name Three-Cornered Leek
Family Alliaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
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 S. Europe. Naturalized in Britain in S.W. England[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun

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Allium triquetrum Three-Cornered Leek

(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Allium triquetrum Three-Cornered Leek
(c) 2010 Ken Fern, Plants For A Future
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of bulb
Allium triquetrum is a BULB growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 7-Feb It is in flower from Apr to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained 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.


Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Hedgerow;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves;  Root.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked. The rather small bulb is up to 20mm 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[22]. 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[183]. 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.

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

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]. Shade tolerant[31], it is easily grown in a cool leafy soil[90] and grows 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. The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[1]. 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 flowers are sweetly scented[245]. The picked flowers can remain fresh for several weeks[89]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[233].
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. Division in summer after the plants have died down. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions.
Other Names
Found In
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 :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Allium acuminatumHooker's Onion, Tapertip onion32
Allium aflatunensePersian Onion, Ornamental Onion22
Allium akaka 32
Allium altaicum 32
Allium ampeloprasumWild Leek, Broadleaf wild leek53
Allium ampeloprasum babingtoniiBabington's Leek33
Allium angulare 32
Allium angulosumMouse Garlic32
Allium atropurpureum 32
Allium bisceptrumAspen Onion, Twincrest onion32
Allium bodeanum 32
Allium bolanderiBolander's Onion32
Allium brevistylumShortstyle Onion32
Allium canadenseCanadian Garlic, Meadow garlic, Fraser meadow garlic, Hyacinth meadow garlic42
Allium canadense mobilenseCanadian Garlic52
Allium carinatumKeeled Garlic32
Allium carolinianum 32
Allium cepaOnion, Garden onion53
Allium cepa aggregatumPotato Onion43
Allium cepa ascalonicumShallot53
Allium cepa proliferumTree Onion53
Allium cernuumNodding Onion, New Mexican nodding onion52
Allium chinenseRakkyo42
Allium condensatum 32
Allium cupanii 32
Allium douglasiiDouglas' Onion32
Allium dregeanumWild Onion32
Allium drummondiiPrairie Onion, Drummond's onion32
Allium fistulosumWelsh Onion52
Allium flavumSmall Yellow Onion, Ornamental Onion22


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Readers comment
James K. Sayre   Sat Apr 23 20:05:28 2005
This cheerful little member of the Onion family is well naturalized in parts of coastal California. Thanks for hosting a difinitive entry on Allium triquetrum. This was a hard plant to identify: misidentified as "Lily of the Valley," then "Star of Bethlehem" It took a visit to a local plant sale to get it properly identified.
Joan Meadowcroft   Tue May 1 2007
This plant was very common in the hedgerows in Cornwall, England at the end of April. Also difficult to identify as it does not appear in many plant books.
Valerie Trim   Tue May 15 2007
Don't plant this unless you don't mind it spreading like mad if you forget to deadhead it!!! The 5 I bought for quite a lot of money a few years ago have colonised large areas of my garden, growing eually well on the rockery as in the woodland area originally planted!!! Although attractive--- beware!!!
Valerie Trim   Tue May 15 2007
By the way--- to identify it , notice that the leaves and stems have a triangular cross section , hence the "tri" bit of their name I suppose. It goes well here in the midlands. I almost regret planting it!!!
Jo Foster   Fri Feb 15 2008
I certainly regret planting the one bulb I bought as part of a special offer from a reputable source a fw years ago. the four big one disappeared and there is now nothing but A. triqutrum in my garden. I think it was irresponsible to offer it without warning, but thanks for the moth repellent hint. I can juice the leaves and go into business!
   Fri Mar 21 2008
I entirely endorse comments about its invasiveness - it's particularly difficult to get rid of because each plant seems to produce hundreds of tiny bulbils and unless you get rid of every one it will carry on spreading. It's lovely, but definitely needs labelling as 'invasive'. Perhaps the main article above could be amended in case readers don't get as far as our comments?
Marinella Zepigi   Tue Jun 10 2008

Acta plantarum forum botanico Allium triquetrum L. - Description - Photos

Laura Chariton   Tue Mar 24 2009
Allium triquetrum should not be planted outside of its native western mediterranean locale under any circumstances, unless one wants a yard of nothing else. It has croweded out every native small plants and grasses in my yard, dries up in June leaving barren soil. It is a dangerous invasive that destroys native habitat. Once I had quail, and now that the allium has taken over they too are gone. Do not plant this under any circumstances. If you do have it, every part of the plant is edible, digging up the bulbs, rubbing them between your palms to remove the skins and saute and add to any dish is a creative way to get rid of them. Bulbs can be stored for months in a dry cupboard. The greens and flowers are delicious. The problem is they seed voraciously. When they are wet on a slope, they are like slippery ice. I have taken numerous tumbles through the years. I would gladly pay to have them gone.
Sue Jackson   Fri Apr 3 2009
Oh hec - I thing this is what I have in my garden! It has just about taken over the whole garden! Looks like I am going to spend Easter digging it all up!!Sue - Colwyn Bay any tips for getting rid of it would be very welcome
mandy   Sun Apr 26 2009
I have taken sacks and sacks of the bulbs to the tip every spring for the last few years. It has killed off many other plants. I have dug out the area where I also had wild daffodils and hope to replant them elsewhere. They were not flowering in the allium patch. I have finally decided to try a weed killer on it, but need something dog safe as my dog likes the taste of garlic! One web site suggested domestic bleach or glyphos. Any suggestions welcome.
   Feb 23 2017 12:00AM
This is a nasty invasive species. In Scotland I have seen it destroy most of the local native wild garlic beds over the past 15 years. It sprouts, flowers and seeds earlier than the native and slowly but inexorably forces it out because it loves exactly the same habitat. Eat as much of it as you can, especially the bulbs!
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Subject : Allium triquetrum  

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