The leek

leek100Allium porrum, a member of the onion family. Phoenicians are said to have introduced the leek to Wales when they were trading for tin in the British Isles. Sometimes called “poor man’s asparagus”.

According to legend, the leek is linked to St David because some 60 years after his death, in 640 AD, the Briton King Cadwallader ordered his soldiers to wear them on their helmets when they fought a victorious battle against the pagan Saxons in a field full of leeks. They subsequently gained a great victory over their enemies.

On St David’s day, wherever the Royal Welch Fusiliers happen to be in the world, in peacetime or at war, leeks are worn, and the day observed, as far as possible, as a holiday and leeks are eaten in the Officers’ Mess.

The reverse side of the 1984 British £1 coin has an image of a leek on the reverse side.