Three-cornered Garlic or Three-cornered Leeks, as they’re also referred to, are a Spring-flowering bulb with white flowers that grow in a bell-like shape. The plant is thought to have originally been introduced to Ireland around three-hundred years ago, with it since becoming naturalised in many counties. It is part of the Daffodil or Amaryllidaceae family.
The stems are three-sided and grow to a height of approximately 30 cm. A thin green line runs along the center of each flower petal, while between 3-15 flowers grow in a drooping, one-sided umbel, similar to that of a Bluebell. The leaves are angled, with each flower possessing three.
These beautiful edible plants can be found through sight and scent, growing along roadsides, in hedges, banks and other areas that experience large amounts of shade.
The first time I discovered it growing was in a grassy location close to a beach in Co. Waterford but I’ve also seen it growing abundantly along roadsides. You will most likely smell it before you see it, if seeking it out. It has an incredibly pungent and alluring aroma.
Such a potent scent lead to the plant being given a reputation for keeping away vampires! It was hung over windows and doors in the past to keep evil spirits at bay. Anicent Egyptians who built the pyramids thought it more useful to consume the wild and edible plant as part of their diet.
In the late 19th century, Louis Pasteur made observations in relation to its antibacterial properties. Such observations led to its use as a natural measure for the prevention of gangarene during both World Wars. It is still used as a natural remedy for the common cold.
Three-cornered Garlic/Leeks can be used as an ingredient in an array of dishes. Blanching the leaves before use will make their scent and taste less potent when using as a salad ingredient or in pesto. I’ve used them as an ingredient in vegetarian tray bakes in place of regular garlic and onions but they are also beautiful when added to risottos and pasta dishes.
Every piece of the plant can be eaten, including the bulb, stem and the delicate flower.
They’re pretty, they taste wonderful and they’re not easily confused with other wild plants, making them a beginner forager’s delight.
Information taken from: www.wildflowersofireland.net