Allium tricoccum Ait. - Wild Leek

Allium tricoccum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Flowering stem to +/-45cm tall, erect, herbaceous, often reddish to maroon, glabrous, leafless. Bulb conic, covered with a fibrous mesh. Roots thickened, fleshy, white, from base of bulb.

Leaves - Absent at flowering time. In spring the leaves are green, glabrous, resembling those of a tulip, to +/-30cm long, 5-10cm broad, entire.

Inflorescence - Terminal umbel of +/-35 flowers. Pedicels green, glabrous, to 15mm long, slightly longer in fruit, typically reddish at the base.

Flowers - Sepals 3, white, glabrous, 6-7mm long, folded, with a minute reddish tip. Petals 3, white, glabrous, oblong, subacute, longer than the sepals, 8-9mm long, 3-4mm broad. Stamens 6, exserted beyond the sepals and petals. Filaments white, widest at the base, tapering to the apex, to 6mm long, glabrous, dorso-ventrally compressed. Anthers yellow, to 2mm long. Ovary superior, 3-lobed, green at the apex, glabrous, 3mm long and broad in flower, 3-locular. Style 1, white, glabrous, exserted from between the lobes of the ovary, 3-4mm long. Stigma wanting. Placentation axile, ovules one per locule.

Allium tricoccum flower

Allium tricoccum flower

Flowering - June - July.

Habitat - Rich soils, north facing slopes, bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found scattered throughout Missouri. The plant is easy to ID in the field because of the purplish flowering stalk and terminal umbel of white flowers, which all appear after the basal leaves have wilted. The bulb and young leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.

Photographs taken in Pictured Rocks National Seashore, MI., 7-27-02.


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