Hardy, vigorous, biennial plant (Allium ampeloprasum variety porrum, sometimes called A. porrum) of the family Alliaceae, native to the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It has a mild, sweet, onionlike flavour. In Europe it is widely used in soups and stews and is cooked whole as a vegetable. It became the national emblem of Wales following an ancient victory by an army of Welshmen who wore leeks as a distinguishing sign. The long, narrow leaves and nearly cylindrical bulb of the first season are replaced in the second season by a tall, solid stalk bearing leaves and a large umbel with many flowers.
Leek (Allium ampeloprasum, variety porrum).—G.R. Roberts
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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