Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Bulbs
Light Requirements: part-shade, shade
Water Use: medium
Soil Moisture: moist
Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, loam, clay
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
Pricing & Availability
Allium tricoccumAlso known as:
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.
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
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.
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
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