Babington’s Leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii

Babington's Leeks

Babington's Leeks (in bud) on St. Martin's, Isles of Scilly

A week ago I wrote about Leeks, Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum.

But I also grow another variety of leek, Babington’s Leek, Allium ampeloprasum var. babingtonii. This is a British wildflower, which grows on the coasts of south-west England. We visited the Isles of Scilly in summer 2010 and it was plentiful in the sand dunes, although it is rare nationally.

Personally, I wouldn’t pick it in the wild.

Like Leeks and Garlic Chives, Babington’s Leek is edible and I’m growing it as a perennial plant, having bought young plants last spring. Once established, you can harvest it by cutting it at ground level or taking the side shoots that split off from the main stem.

Babington's Leek

Babington's Leek in Norwich, in January

But I have to admit that the main reason I’m growing this plant is for its spectacular flowerheads, which can grow to two metres tall. We also have some Babington’s Leek plants in the Grapes Hill Community Garden. Come along in June or July when hopefully they will be in flower.

Alys Fowler mentions Babington’s Leek in an article in The Guardian in May 2011, as well as several other decorative and edible Alliums.

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