This woodland wildflower is somewhat unusual because its foliage has withered away by the time the flowers bloom. Both the foliage and flowers are attractive; the latter help to brighten the gloomy corners of woodlands during the summer. Wild Leek has the widest basal leaves (23½" across) of any Allium sp.
in the state. A similar species, Allium burdickii
(which is also called 'Wild Leek'), has basal leaves that are about 1-2" across. Other wild Allium spp.
have leaves that are narrow and strap-like (less than ½" across). Wild Leek has about 25-50 flowers in each umbel, while Allium burdickii
has 10-20 flowers in each umbel. Wild Leek has reddish leaf petioles and flowering stalks that are often reddish at the base, while the petioles and stalks of Allium burdickii
are light green throughout. This latter species is restricted to wooded areas in NE Illinois and it is less common.
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