Three-cornered 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. Amerallium
A. triquetrum
Binomial name
Allium triquetrum
  • Allium medium G.Don
  • Allium opizii Wolfner
  • Allium triquetrum var. bulbiferum Batt. & Trab.
  • Allium triquetrum f. normale (L.) Maire & Weiller
  • Allium triquetrum var. typicum (L.) Regel
  • Briseis triquetra (L.) Salisb.

Allium triquetrum is a bulbous flowering plant in the genus Allium (onions and garlic) native to the Mediterranean basin. It is known in English as three-cornered leek or three-cornered garlic, in Australia as angled onion[4] and in New Zealand as onion weed.[5] Both the English name and the specific epithet triquetrum refer to the three-cornered shape of the flower stalks.[6]


Allium triquetrum produces stems 17–60 cm (6+3423+12 in) tall, which are concavely triangular in cross-section. Each stem produces an umbel inflorescence of 4–19 flowers in January–May in the species' native environment.[7] The tepals are 10–18 mm (13322332 in) long and white, but with a "strong green line".[8] Each plant has two or three narrow, linear leaves, each up to 15 cm (6 in) long.[7] The leaves have a distinct onion smell when crushed.

Distribution and habitat

Allium triquetrum is native to south-western Europe, north-western Africa, Madeira and the Canary Islands, where it grows in meadows, woodland clearings, on river banks and roadside verges from sea level to an elevation of 850 metres (2,790 ft).[7] It has also been introduced to Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Turkey, Australia, California, Oregon, and South America,[7][9] and is a declared noxious weed in some of those places.[10] It has been recorded as an alien at a garden waste site on Howth Head, Ireland.[11]

Culinary uses

All parts of the plant, from the bulb to the flowers, are edible fresh or cooked.[12]


  1. ^ Allan, D.J. (2018). "Allium triquetrum". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 208. e.T172157A136261512. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T172157A136261512.en.
  2. ^ a b "Allium triquetrum L." World Flora Online. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Allium triquetrum L." Tropicos. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  4. ^ "Angled onion (Allium Triquetrum)". Victorian Resources Online. Agriculture Victoria. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  5. ^ "Allium triquetrum". New Zealand Plant Conservation Network. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  6. ^ Hyam, R.; Pankhurst, R.J. (1 April 1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0198661894.
  7. ^ a b c d Aedo, C.; Castroviejo, S.; et al. (eds.). "Allium L." (pdf). Flora Iberica. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  8. ^ Stace, Clive A. "Allium L. – Onions". New Flora of the British Isles (2nd ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 936–941. ISBN 978-0521707725.
  9. ^ "Allium triquetrum". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  10. ^ Morissy-Swan, Tomé (27 May 2023). "Squirrel haggis and Japanese knotweed reach UK menus as invasive species trend grows". The Observer. Retrieved 28 May 2023.
  11. ^ Dhuill, E.N.; Smyth, N. (2021). "Invasive non-native and alien garden escape species on the southern cliffs of Howth Head, Co. Dublin (H21)". Irish Naturalists' Journal. 37 (2): 102-108.
  12. ^ Clay, Xanthe (2 October 2008). "Recipes made from nature's supermarket". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2023.