Information on Three-cornered Garlic

Common Name: Three-cornered Garlic
Scientific Name: Allium triquetrum
Irish Name: Glaschrreamh
Family Group: Liliaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Three-cornered Garlic is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


Also known as Three-cornered Leek, this spring-flowering bulb carries 2cm long bell-like white flowers (10-18mm) on stems which are three-sided and about 30cm high.  Along the centre of each petal is a narrow green line and between 3 and 15 flowers are arranged in a drooping one-sided umbel not unlike that of a Bluebell.  The leaves are very markedly angled, coming three to a plant from the base.  From April to June these flowers can be seen growing along roadsides, in hedges, banks and other shady places. This plant is thought to have introduced into Ireland some three-hundred years ago and it has become naturalised in many counties.  It belongs to the family Liliaceae. 

I first came across this plant in Powerscourt Demesne, Co Wicklow in the 1950's and was amazed at the strength of its aroma.  This was before the use of garlic became widespread in Ireland but I loved the smell straight away!  The photographs were taken in the Wellingtonbridge area of Co Wexford in 2005.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Garlic, Three-cornered
Garlic, Three-cornered

Although Allium triquetrum is a form of garlic, we usually use its close relation Allium sativum in cooking.  However our 'wild' garlic has long been given a reputation for 'keeping away the vampires' and was hung over doors and windows in times past to keep evil spirits away.  The Egyptians building the pyramids were reputed to have included Garlic in their diet.  In the late 19th century Louis Pasteur observed its antibacterial properties and it was used in both World Wars as a measure of prevention of gangrene.  It is still used by many as a cure for the common cold.  How effective it is I don't know but a Garlic soup is a sure way of producing a lot of sweat.