Allium triquetrum (Onion weed)
Species: A. triquetrum
Binomial name: Allium triquetrum
Common Name: Three-cornered garlic, Onion weed, angled onion, three-cornered leek
Allium triquetrum is a Mediterranean plant in the family Alliaceae. It is a perennial with fleshy grass-like leaves and small snowdrop-like flowers. It grows in clumps 200-500mm high. It in habitats forest and shrubland margins, roadsides, gardens, wasteland and dumps. It is a persistent and troublesome weed forming dense colonises. Clump size can quadruple each season. It grows from an ovoid bulb with stems growing to 10-40 cm. Inflorescences are one-sided umbels with 3-15 flowers each. White flowers have green midveins. Both leaves and stalks are triangular in section and give a strong smell of garlic when crushed.
Many parts of the plant are edible, the flowers, the leaves and the roots. The small bulb is up to 20mm in diameter is eaten - raw or cooked. 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. The leaves are eaten raw or cooked as a leek substitute. 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. The leaves have a milder and more delicate flavour than onions. Flowers are eaten raw and are juicy with a mild garlic flavour; they make a tasty and decorative garnish on salads.
There have been cases of poisoning caused by its consumption in very large quantities and by some mammals, of certain members of this genus. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible.
Photographed September at Adams Point, Te Henui Walkway, New Plymouth.
Allium triquetrum flower with green midveins
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