Allium sphaerocephalon   Round-headed Leek RRR DDD N

Allium sphaerocephalon site Allium sphaerocephalon flower

On a very wet day in April the leader of our WFS trip round the Avon Gorge showed us the site where Allium sphaerocephalon grows. In April there is nothing to be seen so I noted the place and intended to come back later in the year. I'm sure it must grow in other safer places but this site gets a DDD for danger as it involves walking down a 45 degree slab of limestone (reasonable grip in the dry, like soap when wet). You could easily fall all the way down the slab or over the edge whichever takes your fancy. If you have any problem with heights you wouldn't even look.

Allium sphaerocephalon (a literal translation of the English: round-headed) looks superficially like Allium vineale (Crow garlic) but the much larger flower heads are more spherical to my eyes and the flowers distinctly pinkish. There were quite a few specimens of this rare plant at this site but most of them were over, confirming what our guide had told us that the best month is July.

Allium sphaerocephalon grows in just a few places in England and on the Scilly Isles but is absent from Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Avon Gorge Rocks, near Bristol 2nd August 2005

Added on August 2nd 2005, updated 17th April 2008, updated 21st June 2008, updated Feb 25th 2010, updated 1st Dec 2014

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