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Allium tricoccum

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Plant types and subtypes: SALE, Perennials, Bulbs

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, loam, clay

Height: 6"-12"

Bloom Time: May, June, July

Bloom Color: white

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 4, 5, 6, 7

Additional Tags: attracts bees, colonizing, culinary herb, deer resistant, edible, ephemeral, fragrant plant, fragrant root, naturalizing, shade garden plant, woodland plant

Flowers of Allium tricoccum (ramp)
  • Flowers of Allium tricoccum (ramp)
  • Foliage of Allium tricoccum (ramp)
  • Bulb of Allium tricoccum (ramp)
  • Foliage of Allium tricoccum (ramp)

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Description

Allium tricoccum

Also known as:

ramp

,

ramps

,

wild leek

Scientific Synonyms:

Validallium tricoccum

Description

Allium tricoccum, commonly known as ramps or wild leeks, is a perennial bulb of the onion family. It can be easily recognized by its elliptical basal leaves that are up to 10" long, and up to 3 1/2" wide, and their onion-like aroma. This an ephemeral species, with leaves that emerge in early spring - before the tree canopy develops - and wither away by early summer, before the flowering stalk develops. The flowers are greenish-white and form a round cluster (umbel) up to 2" across that sits atop a 6" to 18" tall stem. The seed are contained in conspicuous, dark-purple, berry-like capsules.

Cultivation

Allium tricoccum is an easy to grow, cool climate species, native to deciduous forests of the Appalachian mountains, and northwestward towards the upper Great Lakes. Ramps do best when planted in areas that will receive plenty of sun during late winter and early spring, and will be in full shade during summer. Rich, acidic soil that remains moist during the spring growing season is best. A very cold hardy species. Zones 4-7

Propagation

Mature plants will produce offsets that can be divided during their dormancy period. This is by far the easiest way to propagate ramps. Propagation from seed, is best left to professionals, or mother nature. Seeds require a warm moist period, followed by a cold period to break dormancy. Self-sown seeds can take several years for conditions to be satisfactorily met and produce new plants.

Additional Notes

All parts of the plant are edible raw or cooked. Allium tricoccum has seen an upsurge in popularity due to its delicate and nuanced onion-like flavor. It can be used as an alternative to onions, leeks, chives, or garlic greens in any recipe.

Ramps have been getting a huge amount of attention in food circles as a sustainable crop and delicacy. Unfortunately, this increase in demand has led to the endangerment of wild populations. According to the New England Wildflower Society, studies have shown that a 10% harvest once every 10 years is the maximum sustainable harvest. Although it is conventional wisdom, it is always worth reiterating that plants should not be collected or harvested in the wild.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
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

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Special Concern: ME, RI

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Liliopsida Monocotyledons
Subclass Liliidae
Order Liliales
Family Liliaceae Lily family
Genus Allium onion
Species Allium tricoccum ramp