Monday, October 08, 2012
Wild onions of the island
There is, it turns out, a tremendous amount of edibles and wild crop relatives, growing around the shores of our little island (we've already seen for example wild sea beet and there are others to come). Possibly my favourite little group of these are the alliums, the onions, leeks and garlics.
The most common of these is the 3-cornered leek, Allium triquetrum, a common roadside plant. It's the only one I've eaten, the leaves are thick and strongly flavoured - somewhere between onions and chives.
I've also eaten the stems grilled like a spring onion - not bad, and considering the plant is highly invasive a useful way to keep it in check.
The next most obvious and certainly the biggest is the wild (Babington(?)) leek, Allium ampeloprasum, a giant plant which pumps out huge flowerheads at head height.
The last species, for this post at least, is Rosy Garlic, Allium roseum, a dainty plant which periodically pushes its flower heads up through the coastal turf.
If you look closely at the fresh flower heads you can see the tiny rosy bulbils by which the species propagates.
Just like a domestic Egyptian Walking or Tree Onion!