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Wild Leek Allium tricoccum

Other Common Name(s):

Other plants called Wild Leek:

Phonetic Spelling
AL-ee-um try-KOK-um
Description

Ramps are a spring ephemeral species that is native to rich, moist, deciduous forests and bottoms of eastern North America, from Quebec to Georgia and west to Minnesota. In NC they are native to the mountains. Ramps are one of the earliest edible plants to emerge from the ground in the spring and have a distinct strong garlic/onion fragrance so do not be confused by the poisonous look-a-likes Convallaria majalis or Veratrum spp.

They grow from a conical bulb and in spring 2-3 leaves on purplish stems unfurl that are tulip-like in shape. Just as the leaves begin to die back a cluster of many small white flowers appear on a leafless stem. Each flower produces a single black seed that may take 2 years to germinate. The plant also spreads by bulblet formation. 

This plant is celebrated at many annual spring ramps festivals throughout the mountains of the eastern U.S. and other areas. Its taste is very pungent and it can be used sparingly.

They are best grown in shady areas with damp soil throughout the year and highly organic soil with plenty of decomposed leaf litter. They do well under deciduous trees where they can get some sun until the trees leaf out. They tolerate full to partial shade and medium-wet to medium-dry soil. Plant bulbs about 3 inches deep.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

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Tags:
#fragrant#shade tolerant#NC native#vegetable garden#edible#cool season vegetable#malodorous#nectar plant early spring#pollinators#native edible#ephemeral#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#fragrant#shade tolerant#NC native#vegetable garden#edible#cool season vegetable#malodorous#nectar plant early spring#pollinators#native edible#ephemeral#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Allium
    Species:
    tricoccum
    Family:
    Amaryllidaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Bulb
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Pollinators are attracted to the flowers
    Edibility:
    Leaves, stems and bulbs have garlic onion flavor high in vitamin C. If harvesting in the wild, leave the bulbs and one leaf in the ground to promote sustainablity.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Mountains
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Seed are round and black in color
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Clusters of many small white flowers with 3 sepals and 3 slightly longer petals surrounding the 6 stamens with pale yellow anthers and a single white style. Individual flowers are 1/4 inch and clusters are 1-1.5 inches across.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    1, 2, or 3 broad green elliptical basal leaves 4"-12" long and 1"-3" wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Green stems are often reddish near the base
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Small Space
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Native Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Problems:
    Malodorous