Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Babingtons Leek (Allium ampeloprasum babingtonii )


Here is a humble plant which I've really enjoyed growing and eating.

If you're into plants that will run wild around your garden then this one's for you.

A native of Britain, I've seen them growing wild on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall. Babingtons is closely related to A.ampeloprasum The 'Wild Leek' but tends to have more bulbils. Judging from their wild habitat I'd guess they prefer a light soil and sunny setting.

The plant comes into growth in the winter and the young leaves can be used in salads and soups by January. The real harvest though comes in the autumn when the 'bulbils' (tiny bulbs) are formed on top of the 5ft high flower stalk. They have a strong, garlicky taste and can be used in all the same ways as garlic.

Any bulbils that are not harvested will eventually hit the ground when the stalk folds and start growing away themselves - and there you have it, a self propagating edible plant!


An added bonus of growing any allium is their power as a 'Doctor Plant'. Alliums are well known for their medicinal properties on the human body, but it seems that many plants that are medicine for us are healing for their floral companions too - strengthening the health and resilience of their neighbours.

One word of warning though - they are apparently not good friends with the leguminous tribe, so better give them some distance!

I have a few bulbils left over to share with others if you're interested - they're best planted soon!

1 comment:

  1. Hello

    Would you have any bulbs left this year too? I've been looking everywhere, and these seem impossible to get hold of - unless you happen to know someone who has a plant or two.

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