3 Cornered Leek (Wild Onion Lily)

I just wanted to share a bit about one of my favorite wild edibles in the Bay Area: the 3 cornered leek. For years I called it the “wild onion lily”, and it was mentioned in my book, The Bay Area Forager, as such. I cannot remember where I first heard the new name, but 3 cornered leek is way sexier to chefs and eaters alike. This name sounds more like a gourmet edible than a bush food and it deserves high consideration as a culinary delight.


3 cornered leek

Closely related to garlic and onions, the 3 cornered leek (Allium triquetrum) is from the Mediterranean region of the world, and was introduced to California by European settlers. It now grows wild all over the Bay Area, typically in human disturbed landscapes — lawns, gardens, and in urban and suburban landscaping. Most consider it a weed! Despite the fact that it is delicious and attractive. I use the very mild greens like chives or green onions (but I like them more!) and the beautiful white flowers I add to salads and on top of soups. The flowers are much stronger in flavor than the greens. The bulbs are also delicious, especially cooked, where they can become almost creamy. They take several years to get golf ball sized as best, so I typically reserve the bulbs for special occasions or when I have access to a giant overgrown patch.

Their season is basically our rainy season, October until May. They die off in the summer and disappear from the landscape until fall, when new green growth emerges from their dormant bulbs. Flowers are typically available in April.

Be sure to enjoy some this season!