Overview

Brief Summary

Allium ampeloprasum, commonly known as broadleaf or wild leek, is a monocot bulbous perennial native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa (USDA GRIN 2011). (The North American wild leek is a different species—Allium tricoccum.) This species is the progenitor of three cultivated vegetables, namely leek or garden leek (A. porrum), elephant or great-headed garlic (A. ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum), and kurrat (A. kurrat), the Middle-Eastern cultivated leek (Block 2011), which differ in chromosome number but are interfertile. A fourth group, the pearl onion, is also included in this species. (See Wikipedia article in the full entry for a list of other names and varieties.)

The species name is derived from the Greek “ampelo” (vine), and “prason” (leek)—indicating an Allium that grows in vineyards (Block 2011). The Latin word for leek is “porrum,” which is the name assigned by Linnaeus to the cultivated species of leek, and is the root of the French term for it (“poireau”).

A. ampeloprasum does not normally produce bulbs, although in variety ampeloprasum (elephant garlic), it may produce a head of cloves like garlic (A. sativum) but with two sizes of cloves—a bulb of cloves like garlic, surrounded by smaller cloves on the outside or the bulbs may be on short stolons (Brewster 1994).

Horticultural varieties have been selected and developed for different characteristics. In leeks, the leaf bases form long, edible “pseudostems” made of concentric rings of the leaf bases, whereas in the kurrat, the pseudostems are short and the focus is on eating the leaves. Elephant garlic (A. ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) is used for the bulb rather than leaves, which typically has a milder flavor than garlic (A. sativum). Although typically with two sizes of cloves, it may produce only a single large clove. This is sometimes confused with the single-bulb cultivar of commerce, but that cultivar, from China, appears more closely related to onion (Allium cepa; Figliuolo and DiStefano 2007). The pearl onion, cultivated primarily in home gardens, is similar to a small leek, but does not have pronounced pseudostem; instead, it produces a cluster of small, almost perfectly round bulbs.

In many Allium species, the flower (often an umbel) produces bulbils, which appear to be small cloves within a bulb. A. ampeloprasum typically does not produce bulbils, although a few varieties may.

Allium ampeloprasum has escaped cultivation in North America and is naturalized in New England and adjacent areas in Canada (eFloras.org 2011), as well as the southeastern states and as far west as Texas, and in California. However, it is not considered particularly invasive, except in Arkansas, where all Allium species are classified as noxious weeds (USDA PLANTS 2011). It is an “environmental weed” in parts of Australia (Groves et al. 2005).

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Distribution in Egypt

Oases, Mediterranean region and Sinai.

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Global Distribution

Azores, Canary Islands, western and southern Europe, north Africa, Sinai, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Causasus, Iraq, Saudi Arabia.

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introduced; Europe; Asia; n Africa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Bulbs 1–3+, variable, some with poorly developed bulbs, others ovoid with 1–2 large bulbs and several yellowish to light brown bulbels at base, 0.4–1(–3) × 0.4–1(–1.5) cm; outer coat enclosing 1 or more bulbs, yellowish, membranous; inner coats white to light brown, cells not evident, fibers ± parallel, few. Leaves withering from tips by anthesis, 6–9, sheathing 1/3–1/2 scape; blade solid, flat, channeled, 1–5 cm × 2–20(–30) mm, margins scabrid. Scape persistent, solitary, erect, fistulose, terete, 45–180 cm × 3–7 mm. Umbel persistent, erect, compact, to 500-flowered, few-flowered in variants with bulbils, globose; spathe bracts persistent, 3–5, 2–3-veined, lanceolate, ± equal, apex abruptly narrowed to beak, beak to 10 cm. Flowers urceolate, 4–5.5 mm; tepals erect, white, pink, or dark red, unequal, becoming papery and investing capsule in fruit; outer tepal oblong-lanceolate, margins entire, apex obtuse, sometimes mucronate; inner tepal narrowly ovate to spatulate, margins entire, apex obtuse; stamens equaling perianth or exserted; outer filaments simple, inner with 2 prominent lateral teeth that exceed anther-bearing portion, glabrous; anthers yellow or purple; pollen yellow; ovary crestless; style linear, equaling stamens; stigma capitate, scarcely thickened, unlobed; pedicel 15–50 mm. Seed coat not known.
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Ecology

Habitat

Roadsides and other disturbed areas; 0--100m.
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Fields and former areas of cultivation, vineyards and roadsides, sometimes rocky hillsides, cliffs, coastal beaches.

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Associations

Foodplant / internal feeder
caterpillar of Acrolepiopsis assectella feeds within live stem of Allium porrum

Foodplant / spot causer
Alternaria dematiaceous anamorph of Alternaria porri causes spots on live leaf of Allium porrum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Botrytis dematiaceous anamorph of Botryotinia squamosa infects and damages live, white-flecked leaf (esp. towards tip) of Allium porrum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Botrytis dematiaceous anamorph of Botrytis byssoidea infects and damages live leaf (base) of Allium porrum

Foodplant / spinner
caterpillar of Cacoecimorpha pronubana spins live leaf of Allium porrum
Other: minor host/prey

Fungus / saprobe
concentric acervulus of Colletotrichum coelomycetous anamorph of Colletotrichum circinans is saprobic on dry bulb scale (outer) of Allium porrum

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Delia antiqua feeds within live bulb of Allium porrum

Foodplant / pathogen
Ditylenchus dipsaci infects and damages live, swollen, distorted leaf of Allium porrum

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Erwinia carotovora infects and damages bulb of Allium porrum

Foodplant / sap sucker
Myzus ascalonicus sucks sap of Allium porrum

Foodplant / sap sucker
Neotoxoptera formosana sucks sap of Allium porrum

Foodplant / pathogen
Onion Yellow Dwarf virus infects and damages yellow, crinkled, flatened, twisted leaf of Allium porrum

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / pathogen
colony of sporangium of Peronospora destructor infects and damages live Allium porrum

Foodplant / miner
larva of Phytomyza gymnostoma mines leaf of Allium porrum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / pathogen
colony of Phytophthora porri infects and damages live leaf of Allium porrum
Remarks: season: (8-)10
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
slit-like uredium of Puccinia porri parasitises live stem of Allium porrum

Foodplant / pathogen
numerous sclerotium of Sclerotium cepivorum infects and damages white mycelial-coated bulb base of Allium porrum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
adult of Thrips tabaci feeds on live leaf of Allium porrum
Other: major host/prey

Foodplant / parasite
elongated streaks or isolated pustules sorus of Urocystis magica parasitises live, swollen or twisted leaf of Allium porrum
Remarks: season: 4-11

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering Apr--Jul.
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Life Expectancy

Perennial.

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Evolution and Systematics

Systematics or Phylogenetics

Hirschegger et al. (2010) undertook a molecular phylogenetic analysis of the section Allium (in subgenus Allium), which includes economically important species such as garlic and leek as well as other polyploid minor crops. They focused in particular on inferring the origins of the several horticultural groups of Allium ampeloprasum.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Allium ampeloprasum

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Allium ampeloprasum

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 5
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Wikipedia

Allium ampeloprasum

Allium ampeloprasum is a member of the onion genus Allium. The wild plant is commonly known as (Broadleaf) Wild Leek - not to be confused with the N. American Allium tricoccum of the same name. Its native range is S. Europe to W. Asia, and seems to have been introduced to Britain by prehistoric people, where its habitat consists of rocky places near the coast in south-west England and Wales.[1][2] It has been differentiated into three cultivated vegetables, namely leek, elephant garlic and kurrat. In tidewater Virginia, the plant is commonly known as the “Yorktown Onion.” [1]

Contents

Synonym

Allium porrum L.

Vernacular names

Allium ampeloprasum comprises several vegetables, of which the most important ones are known as

See also

References

  1. ^ Plants for a Future: Allium ampeloprasum
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Grubben, G.J.H. & Denton, O.A. (2004) Plant Resources of Tropical Africa 2. Vegetables. PROTA Foundation, Wageningen; Backhuys, Leiden; CTA, Wageningen.
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Notes

Comments

Normally the umbel of Allium ampeloprasum has no bulbils, but there are some variants with a few flowers that produce bulbils. The species has been reported as established in New England and adjacent Canada and can be found along roadsides and in other disturbed areas. It is probably conspecific with A. porrum Linnaeus, the leek of commerce. Allium porrum can be distinguished from A. ampeloprasum based on its unique bulb morphology and chemistry from centuries of cultivation and selection.
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