FutureStarr

Allium tricoccum

Allium tricoccum

Allium tricoccum

Allium tricoccum is a plant with bulbs in the genus Allium. The bulbs are commonly eaten, as raw or as a cooked vegetable or salad ingredient.This spring ephemeral species is native to rich, moist, deciduous forests and bottoms of eastern North America, from Quebec to South Carolina and west to Minnesota (zones 3-8). The main habitat for ramps is forests dominated by birch, sugar maple, and poplar but they are also found naturally under beech, linden (basswood), hickory, and oak. They are typically found in association with other wildflowers including bellwort, bloodroot, ginseng, mayapple, trout lily and trillium. Apparently, indigenous peoples referred to the area around the southern part of Lake Michigan by the name they used for the dense colonies of this plant that grew there in the 17th century as CicagaWuni or shikako, which Europeans pronounced as “Chicago”.

Plant

Allium tricoccum is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows from a bulb. These conic bulbs are covered with a fibrous mesh and have thick, fleshy white roots from the base of the bulb. They are strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the soil. They grow in groups, as the bulbs continue to offset to enlarge the colonies. They are easy to distinguish from other similar-looking woodland plants by the distinctive onion scent that emanates if a leaf is torn or bulb cut.This plant is celebrated at many annual spring ramps festivals throughout the mountains of the eastern U.S. and other areas (but especially in Appalachia where ramps are widespread and common), with tremendous numbers of wild plants gathered from nearby forests.

The intensive harvesting for these types of events and their increasing use in restaurants is seriously damaging the wild populations of ramps in some areas as they are being harvested in unsustainRamps grow best in shady areas with damp soil throughout the year (not just the growing season) and highly organic soil with plenty of decomposed leaf litter. They tolerate full to partial shade and medium wet to medium dry soil. To cultivate these plants, grow from seed, bulbs, or young plants. Since seed germination can take up to 18 months and plants may not get large enough to harvest for 7 years, the latter is often preferred. Bulbs can be purchased or transplanted in early spring to obtain harvestable plants in 2 to 3 years (from large – greater than ½ inch in diameter – bulbs). Transplantation can also be done in the fall as long as the soil is kept moist until the ground freezes. (Source:able quantities. (Source:hort.extension.wisc.edu)

 

 

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