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Leek ( Allium ampeloprasum subsp. Ampeloprasum )

Family : Amaryllis family (Amaryllidaceae)
Subfamily : Leek family (Allioideae)
Tribe : Allieae
Genre : Leek ( allium )
Type : Field garlic ( Allium ampeloprasum )
without rank: leek
Scientific name
Allium ampeloprasum subsp. ampeloprasum
Leek blossom

Leek ( Allium ampeloprasum leek group, Syn. Allium porrum ), also leek , Breitlauch , leek , Welsh onion , Common leek , Spanish leek , Aschlauch , meat leek called, is a variety group of from the Mediterranean derived Ackerl Auchs ( Allium ampeloprasum ). This vegetable belongs to the genus Allium in the subfamily of the leek family (Allioideae).


It is a biennial herbaceous plant that reaches heights of 60 to 80 cm. In contrast to the wild form, leeks do not have an onion . The linear to lanceolate leaves are 1 to 5 cm wide.

The inflorescence stands on a smooth inflorescence stem and has a many-leaved, long-beaked envelope, which is longer than the large, spherical, multi-flowered, golden inflorescence . The hermaphroditic flowers are radial symmetry . The white to light purple bracts are 4.5 to 5 mm long and 2 to 2.3 mm wide. Egg-round capsule fruits are formed. Sometimes brood tubers are formed in the inflorescence.


Cultivation and harvest

Leek is grown mainly in the Mediterranean region and in Europe, with the focus in Germany on North Rhine-Westphalia . Cultivation of varieties for harvest in autumn or winter is carried out by sowing in an outdoor seedbed from March to April and usually transplanting to the final location between late May / early June to late July. In order to harvest leeks between June and August / September, sowing takes place in a cold greenhouse from the beginning of January to the beginning of March; the young plants obtained in this way are planted outdoors between the end of March and the end of May. When transplanting, depending on the desired stand density, the leek plants are set at row spacings of 30 to 50 cm and plant spacings between 10 and 15 cm. The stand density per hectare varies between 200,000 plants for early varieties and 100,000 plants for winter varieties. The yield for winter varieties is around 25 t per hectare. Due to the high frost resistance of most types of leek for winter cultivation, they can often remain in the field over the winter.

Diseases and pests

The most important and, above all, quality-reducing pests are onion thrips ( Thrips tabaci ), which turn the leaves silver-gray through sucking, and the leek moth ( Acrolepiopsis assectella ), which eats holes in the leaf and leek. Onion leaf miner and onion fly are rarer pests. The fungal diseases are leek rust ( Puccinia allii ) defined by rusty "pustules" paper blight ( Phytophthora porri ) by paper-like discoloration of the leaves and growth loss and purple blotch ( Alternaria porri ) by its leaf spots reduce the quality or make leek sale. The rust fungus overwinters on infested plant remains or on leek stalks that remain in the bed over winter, or on nearby plants such as chives . Infested plant debris should not be placed on the compost . More rarely occurs even the fungus Samtfleckenkrankheit ( Cladosporium allii ), the viral disease Gelbstreifigkeit ( Leek yellow stripe virus = LYSV, shallot latent virus = SLV, or garlic latent virus = GLV) on leeks, which can be caused by several viruses. It is important to have a wide crop rotation that prevents the build-up of an increased harmful population in a field or in a region. This can be counteracted in the home garden with mixed cultures. Neighboring plants play a certain role in this. An important factor in this is allelopathy . Reduce favorable neighbors such as endive , strawberry , chamomile , cabbage , kohlrabi , lettuce , carrot , salsify , celery and tomato , poor neighbor plants such as beans , peas or beetroot can promote growth and disease pressure.

Cross-section and root attachment

Use in the kitchen

Leek cake (with camembert )

Leek is used both as a vegetable (mostly winter leek) and as a kitchen spice (mostly summer leek); it can be eaten cold or warm as a vegetable or salad . Together with carrots and celery , leek is used as a spice in soups, known as soup greens . It is also used in the North Hessian specialty bacon cake or as a hot and cold leek cake .

Like onions , leeks lead to flatulence during digestion .


Structural chemical formula of isoalliin

Leek contains, among other things, vitamin C , vitamin K and folic acid as well as the minerals potassium , calcium , magnesium and the trace elements iron and manganese . The sulfur compound propanthial- S -oxide , which is formed from isoalliin and the catalyzing enzyme alliinase, causes the intense smell and taste of leeks. The sulfoxide cycloalline is also found in various types of leek.

Cultural meaning


Until the 1970s, the term "leek" was often used in German-speaking countries for leek (from Middle High German louch ), only in German-speaking Switzerland, in Baden-Württemberg, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate, in southern Hesse and scattered in Austria and the In western Bavaria the term “leek” was even more common.

Other, in some cases only regionally used or historical names for the leek are or were: Aeschlauch , Bieslook ( Low German ), Biramsam ( Middle High German ), Bolle ( Brandenburg ), Borren (Brandenburg), Burrä (Oldenburg), Burchon ( Upper Hesse ), Burri (Mecklenburg, Jever), Burren ( Altmark ), Burro ( Pomerania ), Fristlich ( Erzgebirge ), Gemeinloch (Middle High German), Kil ( Middle Low German ), Läuchel (Middle High German), Lauchekyl , Loek (Middle Low German), Lók (Middle Low German), Look ( Oldenburg, East Friesland ), Pfarr , Pforisamo (Middle High German), Pharren (Middle High German), Phorro (Middle High German), Phorsame , Poré ( Transylvania ), Pork (Middle High German), Porlok (Middle High German), Porsam , Prei (Oldenburg, East Frisia), Prieslauch , Priselocher , Prö ( Lübeck ) and Slauch .

Cultural reception

Leek was so sacred in the old Germanic ritual that it gave its name to a rune . In the British Isles it is said to have been used by the British King Cadwallader around 640 as a symbol of identification for his troops. Leek is one of the national symbols of Wales , corresponding to the English rose and the Scottish thistle.

A volume with stories from Arno Schmidt from 1959 is entitled Roses and Leek .


The leek is a cultivar of the Ackerl Auchs ( Allium ampeloprasum ), which occurs in the Mediterranean wild and cultivated in various forms. Leek was already around 2100 BC. Chr. Known. The Sumerian ruler Urnammu had it grown in the gardens of the city of Ur . Leek was also used in ancient Egypt . According to Herodotus , it is said to have served as food for the workers who built the pyramids. Afterwards, leek was valued throughout the Mediterranean region in ancient times . The leek probably came to Central Europe from Italy in the Middle Ages .


Historical illustrations

See also

Individual evidence

  1. P. Hanelt, IPK (Ed.): Mansfeld's Encyclopedia of Agricultural and Horticultural Crops. Online version
  2. Xu Jiemei, Rudolf V. camel: Allium. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China . Volume 24: Flagellariaceae through Marantaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 2000, ISBN 0-915279-83-5 , Allium porrum , p. 200 (English, online ).
  3. Ulrich Sachweh (editor): Tree nursery, fruit growing, seed growing, vegetable growing (= The gardener. Volume 3). 2nd improved edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 1989, ISBN 3-8001-1148-9 , pp. 226-227.
  4. ^ RB Maude: Leaf Diseases of Onions . In: HD Rabinowitch (Ed.): Onions and Allied Crops: Volume II: Agronomy Biotic Interactions . CRC Press, May 4, 2018.
  5. Gerd Crüger: Plant protection in vegetable growing . With the collaboration of Georg Friedrich Backhaus, Martin Hommes, Silvia Smolak and Heinrich-Josef Vetten (=  Handbook of the Commercial Gardener . Volume 10 ). 4th completely revised and expanded edition. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 2002, ISBN 3-8001-3191-9 , pp. 126-143 .
  6. Ehler Meyer u. a .: Herbalist's paperback. The current helper for the detection and control of diseases and pests on cultivated plants and stocks as well as for the elimination of weeds 45th episode, Landwirtschaftsverlag, Münster-Hiltrup 1996, ISBN 3-7843-2747-8 , pp. 157-159.
  7. ^ Allium porrum at Plants For A Future
  8. Second round - leek / leek . In: Atlas of everyday German language (AdA). Phil.-Hist. Faculty, University of Augsburg, November 10, 2005.
  9. ^ Georg August Pritzel , Carl Jessen : The German folk names of plants. New contribution to the German linguistic treasure. Philipp Cohen, Hannover 1882, p. 18, online.
  10. Pedanios Dioscurides . 1st century: De Medicinali Materia libri quinque. Translation. Julius Berendes . Pedanius Dioscurides' medicine theory in 5 books. Enke, Stuttgart 1902, p. 232 (Book II, Chapter 178): Lauch (digitized)
  11. Pliny the Elder , 1st century: Naturalis historia book XX, chapter xxi (§ 44–47): Porrum (digitized version ) ; Translation Külb 1855 (digitized version )
  12. Galen , 2nd century De alimentorum facultatibus , Book II, Chapter 71 (based on the Kühn 1826 edition, Volume VI, p. 658) (digitized version)
  13. Avicenna , 11th century: Canon of Medicine . Translation and adaptation by Gerhard von Cremona , Arnaldus de Villanova and Andrea Alpago (1450–1521). Basel 1556, Volume II, Chapter 547: Porrum (digitized version )
  14. ^ Pseudo-Serapion 13th century, print. Venice 1497, sheet 151r (No CCCLXI): Porrum (digitized)
  15. ^ Pseudo-Macer . Edition: Ludwig Choulant. Macer floridus de virtutibus herbarum… Leipzig 1832, chapter 13 (p. 49–50): Porrum (digitized version )
  16. ^ German Macer . Porrum. Leek . After: Bernhard Schnell, William Crossgrove: The German Macer. Vulgate version. Niemeyer, Tübingen 2003, p. 335 (Chapter 10). Cpg 226 , Alsace, 1459–1469, sheet 184r – v (digital copy ) . Transcription: (.ix. Porrum means leek / ypocras the master speaks who is looking for emoptois / that is the one who counts blood / the sol of the leek juice is pressed he is recovering (Quite a few lute hot dumplings with wyrauch mixed with leek juice nuczen (Quite called take two parts leek seeds one part mirren and the tootriben with win vnd so used is good for the liver seeks (this may also obstruct the bleeding nose whether one is able to do it (which is what the leek eats it helps you (the leek with Pushing honey helps in front of the bad sweren and in front of the fulen sere (The knowledge of the leek boiled in two waters / that first poured the other is well drunk if the book is herted (the same water with like vil wins mixed and consumed clogs the flow book (Wa die nater sticht or no animal that poisons treyt / the nucze the leek with win (leek with win pushed and as a plaster vff that wonden geleyt it helps (leek with wibs milk drun cken so it is mixed / it helps against the cough (the same also helps with all sorts of addiction to the lungs (leek juice mixed with umpteen gallons of galls and jn swerning ore done it helps (who cares) the two part leek juice and the a third of honey and give it warm in the noses or in the ears it helps (whoever is sick is not better then leek juice is pressed with a win (leek pounded with salcz and vff the wonden leyed helps you (it also puffs up swelling and undulating to seeds falling and broken leg (The raw leek, eaten raw, feels oppressive //
  17. ^ Charles Victor Daremberg and Friedrich Anton Reuss (1810–1868). S. Hildegardis Abbatissae Subtilitatum Diversarum Naturarum Creaturarum Libri Novem. Physica , Book I, Chapter 81: Porro . Migne, Paris 1855. Sp. 1162 (digitized) - translation Marie-Louise Portmann, Basel 1991: The leek, which is called leek, has quick and useless warmth in it like worthless wood, namely "spachin", which burns quickly and quickly falls. And in man it causes alarm in lust. And eaten raw it is as bad and perishable for humans as a poisonous useless herb, because it turns the blood and the rot and the juices of humans into the opposite, that is “whale”, so that the blood in humans through the leek does not increase and so that the putrefaction in it is not diminished by the leek and so that the foul juices in it are not purified. But whoever wants to eat the leek raw, first marinate it in wine or in vinegar with the addition of salt, so that it lies in the wine or in the salt until it is so tempered in them that it loses its bad juices in them . So he lies from morning to noon, or from Non to Vespers. And so temperate it is good to eat for the healthy. But raw it is better in this way than cooked for the healthy. But for the sick it is neither raw nor cooked to eat because their blood does not have the right warmth and because their putrefaction has been disturbed and because their juices are foaming, that is "seymechte". And therefore if the sick person always eats him, he turns all this around in him. However, when some sick people have a great appetite for leeks, they may eat it raw, as has been said above, and in moderate amounts, because it is better raw than cooked.
  18. ^ Galangal spice treatise 13th / 14th century Latin: Clm 13 076 , no place, 1356, sheet 21ra: Porrum (digitized version )
  19. ^ Konrad von Megenberg , 14th century: Book of nature. Output. Franz Pfeiffer . Aue, Stuttgart 1861, pp. 415–416 (V / 63): Pforr (digitized version)
  20. Gabriel von Lebenstein 14th - 15th century. Distilled waters . Manuscript M Clm 5905 , Bavarian, 2nd half of the 15th century, sheet 54v (digitized version )
  21. Herbarius Moguntinus , Mainz 1484, Part I, Chapter 107: Porrum (digitized version )
  22. Gart der Gesundheit . Mainz 1485, Chapter 303: Porrum. Leek (digitized version)
  23. Hortus sanitatis 1491, Mainz 1491, Part I, Chapter 375: Porrum (digitized version )
  24. Hieronymus Brunschwig : Small distilling book , Strasbourg 1500, sheet 70v – 71r: Louch (digitized version )
  25. Paracelsus - Oporinus : Scholia & Observationes quaedam perutiles in Macri Poemata de Virtutibus Herbarum, & c. quas Ioh. Oporinus (dum per triennium aut ultra Theophrasti esset Amanuensis) ex ore dictantis studiose exceperat. (Useful comments and observations on the Macer poems about the powers of medicinal plants, which Johannes Oporinus - three years or more scribe of Paracelsus - has eagerly selected from the heard.) Huser edition of the works of Paracelsus, Basel 1590, part 7, page 259–260: De porro : (digitized version )
  26. ^ Otto Brunfels : Ander Teyl des Teütschen Contrafayten Kreüterbůchs . Johann Schott, Strasbourg 1537, p. 35: Wylder Lauch (digitized version )
  27. ^ Pietro Andrea Mattioli : Commentarii, in libros sex Pedacii Dioscoridis Anazarbei, de medica materia. Translation by Georg Handsch, edited by Joachim Camerarius the Younger , Johan Feyerabend, Franckfurt am Mayn 1586, sheet 168v – 170r: Lauch (digitized)
  28. Transcription and translation: Pori. Pori: complexio calida in 3 °, sicca in 2 °. Electio: naptici, id est montani acuti. iuvamentum: provocant urinam, addunt in coytu, et cum melle mundificant pectus a catarris. nocumentum: cerebro et sensibus. Remotio nocumenti: cum oleo sisamico aut amigdalarum dulcium. Quid generant: sanguinem adustum et coleram acutam. conveniunt magis frigidis, senectuti, hyeme, septentrionalibus. --- Leek. Leek: Complexion: warm in the 3rd, dry in the 2nd degree. Naptic, ds sharp ones from the mountains are preferable. Benefits: they urinate, strengthen sexual potency, and when consumed with honey, they cleanse the chest of catarrhs. Harm: they are harmful to the brain and the senses. Preventing the harm: with sesame oil or sweet almonds. What they produce: burned blood and sharp bile. Particularly beneficial for people with cold complexion, for old age, in winter and in northern areas .

Web links

Commons : Allium porrum  - collection of images
Wiktionary: Leek  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Leeks  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations