The Leek (Allium ampeloprasum) belongs to Liliaceae (the Lily family). It is a perennial that is native to the Mediterranean region. It is believed to have been cultivated as far back as ancient Egypt (about 5000 years ago). It has a thick, short form similar to the "Shimonita-negi" and, like the "Nebuka-negi", its cylindrical white leaf sheaths are edible. The leaves are stiff and flattened. Unlike ordinary welsh onions, it has little of the odor characteristic of welsh onions and is aromatic. It is used in stews, soups, pot-au-feu, and other stewed dishes that take advantage of its sticky texture and elegant flavor, as well as in steamed dishes and oven-baked gratins. It is also used as a savory vegetable, blending well with potatoes and parsnips.