Common name: Wild garlic, three-cornered leek
Scientific name: Allium triquetrum
Family: Liliaceae (Lily)
This pretty plant, often called White Bluebells, is decorative and edible., unlike the real bluebell.
Introduced from the Mediterranean, three-cornered leek has spread along roadside verges, hedge banks, field edges and open woodland. It has long, triangular-shaped leaves and white, bell-shaped flowers marked with green stripes, borne on a stalk with a triangular cross-section. It smells of garlic – a large swathe can be smelt from a distance!
The leaves have a mild garlic flavour, they are juicy and sweet – a good choice for salads. They can be chopped and added to many dishes close to the end of cooking – mashed potato, stirfries, quiches and tarts, fish dishes – similar to chives. The flowers are edible and add a pretty garlic edge to salads, while the bulbils (“garlic peas”) and bulbs are also edible – treat as small onions. As this introduced plant is rapidly spreading throughout southern Ireland, harvesting the roots is ecologically sustainable. It makes a great pesto (no need to add extra garlic!)
All Allium (garlic) species have anti-microbial properties, but three-cornered leek is milder in taste and action itself. Supportive for treating colds and flus.
Three-cornered leek “garlic” butter
Chop the leaves, blanch in a boiling water, remove and refresh under cold water. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the leaves and liquidise with a little white wine, salt and pepper. You can freeze this puree for later use, or beat it into softened butter and then freeze it in cling-filmed rolls to provide rounds of garlic butter year-round.