Wild leek
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Genus: Allium
Subgenus: A. subg. Allium
A. ampeloprasum
Binomial name
Allium ampeloprasum
Species synonymy
  • Allium adscendens Kunth
  • Allium albescens Guss.
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii (Borrer) Syme
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. bertolonii (De Not.) Nyman
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. bulbiferum Syme
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. bulgaricum Podp.
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. caudatum Pamp.
  • Allium ampeloprasum subsp. euampeloprasum Hayek
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. gasparrinii (Guss.) Nyman
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. gracile Cavara
  • Allium ampeloprasum subsp. halleri Nyman
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. holmense Asch. & Graebn.
  • Allium ampeloprasum f. holmense (Asch. & Graebn.) Holmboe
  • Allium ampeloprasum subsp. porrum (L.) Hayek
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum (L.) J.Gay
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. pylium (De Not.) Asch. & Graebn.
  • Allium ampeloprasum subsp. thessalum (Boiss.) Nyman
  • Allium ampeloprasum var. wiedemannii Regel
  • Allium ascendens Ten.
  • Allium babingtonii Borrer
  • Allium bertolonii De Not.
  • Allium byzantinum K.Koch
  • Allium duriaeanum Regel
  • Allium durieuanum Walp.
  • Allium gasparrinii Guss.
  • Allium halleri G.Don
  • Allium holmense Mill. ex Kunth
  • Allium kurrat Schweinf. ex K.Krause
  • Allium laetum Salisb.
  • Allium lineare Mill.
  • Allium porraceum Gray
  • Allium porrum L.
  • Allium porrum var. ampeloprasum (L.) Mirb.
  • Allium porrum subsp. euampeloprasum Breistr.
  • Allium porrum var. kurrat (Schweinf. ex K.Krause) Seregin
  • Allium pylium De Not.
  • Allium scopulicola Font Quer
  • Allium scorodoprasum subsp. babingtonii (Borrer) Nyman
  • Allium spectabile De Not.
  • Allium syriacum Boiss.
  • Allium thessalum Boiss.
  • Porrum amethystinum Rchb.
  • Porrum ampeloprasum (L.) Mill.
  • Porrum commune Rchb.
  • Porrum sativum Mill.

Allium ampeloprasum is a member of the onion genus Allium. The wild plant is commonly known as wild leek or broadleaf wild leek. Its native range is southern Europe to southwestern Asia and North Africa,[2] but it is cultivated in many other places and has become naturalized in many countries.

Allium ampeloprasum is regarded as native to all the countries bordering on the Black, Adriatic, and Mediterranean Seas from Portugal to Egypt to Romania. In Russia and Ukraine, it is considered invasive except in Crimea, where it is native. It is also native to Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Iran and Iraq. It is considered naturalized in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Czech Republic, the Baltic States, Belarus, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, China, Australia (all states except Queensland and Tasmania), Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, the United States (southeastern region plus California, New York State, Ohio and Illinois), Galápagos, and Argentina.[3][4][5][6][7] In tidewater Virginia, where it is commonly known as the "Yorktown onion", it is protected by law in York County.[8]

The species may have been introduced to Britain by prehistoric people, where its habitat consists of rocky places near the coast in south-west England and Wales.[9][10]

Allium ampeloprasum has been differentiated into five cultivated vegetables, namely leek, elephant garlic, pearl onion, kurrat, and Persian leek.

Wild populations produce bulbs up to 3 cm across. Scapes are round in cross-section, each up to 180 cm tall, bearing an umbel of as many as 500 flowers. Flowers are urn-shaped, up to 6 mm across; tepals white, pink or red; anthers yellow or purple; pollen yellow.[4][11]


Allium ampeloprasum comprises several vegetables, of which the most notable ones are:

See also


  1. ^ "Allium ampeloprasum". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – via The Plant List. Note that this website has been superseded by World Flora Online
  2. ^ "Allium ampeloprasum L. | Plants of the World Online | Kew Science".
  3. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Allium ampeloprasum
  4. ^ a b McNeal Jr., Dale W.; Jacobsen, T. D. (2002). "Allium ampeloprasum". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). Vol. 26. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ "Allium ampeloprasum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  6. ^ Xu, Jiemei; Kamelin, Rudolf V. "Allium porrum". Flora of China. Vol. 24 – via eFloras.org, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  7. ^ Altervista, Schede di Botanica
  8. ^ Yorktown Onion Archived 2016-08-11 at the Wayback Machine. York County, Virginia.
  9. ^ a b "Allium ampeloprasum". Plants for a Future.
  10. ^ CHRISTOPHER D. PRESTON, DAVID A. PEARMAN, ALLAN R. HALL (2004) Archaeophytes in Britain Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 145 (3), 257–294 doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.2004.00284.x, p. 264
  11. ^ Gleason, H. A. & A.J. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (ed. 2) i–910. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.
  12. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
  13. ^ Mousavi, Amir; Kashi, Abedolkarim; Davoodi, Daryoush; Shariatpanahi, Mohammad Sanei (2006). "Characterization of an Allium Cultivated in Iran: The Persian Leek". Belgian Journal of Botany. 139 (1): 115–123. JSTOR 20794599.