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Botanists discover wild leek in new site.

BOTANISTS have discovered a flowering group of an extremely rare variety of one of Wales' national symbols - a type of wild leek.

Researchers from Plantlife Cymru confirmed it had discovered the rare wild leek (allium ampeloprasum) flowering on South Stack, Anglesey.

The variety of vegetable - a member of the onion family - can only be found in three sites in the whole of Wales - on South Stack, on a roadside near Abergele, near Colwyn Bay, and on Flat Holm island, near Cardiff in the Bristol Channel.

The rare leek is used as the county flower of Cardiff thanks to its cultural link as the national emblem of Wales, and due to its presence on Flat Holm.

The wild leek has globe-like heads on stems that can grow to a metre tall and its leaves are just like the common garden leek, although the stem is not quite so fat. All parts have a strong onion scent.

It is considered an ancient introduction to Britain - an archaeophyte introduced it before 1500 AD, probably originating from the Mediterranean region and it is the ancestor of the edible garden leek.

A spokeswoman for Plantlife Cymru said: "Because of its origin it seems to prefer mild climates - hence its rarity - and is found mainly in the Channel Islands, the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall, where it grows in old fields, and along hedge banks, cliffs and paths and other disturbed places, especially near the sea."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 17, 2013
Words:240
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