Common Name ramsons, wild garlic
Light part to shade
Moisture wet to mesic
Edible bulbs, greens
This is a very common one in Europe, and much loved! Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be used as salad, spice, boiled as a vegetable, in soup, or as an ingredient for pesto in lieu of basil. Usually available from late January (in the UK) making it a vital fresh green leaf in the middle of winter. Flowers can also be eaten raw or cooked. These are somewhat stronger than the leaves, in small quantities they make a decorative and very tasty addition to salads. The stems are preserved by salting and eaten as a salad in Russia.
Bulb can be eaten raw or cooked and has a fairly strong garlic flavour, though it is quite small and fiddly to harvest. The bulbs can be harvested at any time the plant is dormant from early summer to early winter. Harvested in early summer, they will store for at least 6 months (Taking bulbs from the wild may be illegal in your country) The small green bulbils are used as a caper substitute.
The leaves are also used as fodder. Cows that have fed on ramsons give milk that tastes slightly of garlic, and butter made from this milk used to be very popular in 19th-century Switzerland.
Ramsons has most of the health benefits of the cultivated garlic, and is supposedly particularly effective in reducing high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels. The juice of the plant is used as a moth repellent. The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles. The juice of the plant has been used as a general household disinfectant.
The leaves of A. ursinum are easily mistaken for Lily of the Valley, sometimes also those of Colchicum autumnale and Arum maculatum. (Mostly when leaves are young) All three are poisonous and potentially deadly incidents occur almost every year. Grind the leaves between the fingers and check for a garlic-like smell