Common Name ramps
Origin North America
Light part to shade
Moisture wet to mesic
Edible greens, flowers, bulb
The name ramps (usually plural) is one of the many dialectical variants of the English word ramson, a common name of the related European (Allium ursinum) The ramp has broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems, and a scallion-like stalk and bulb. Both the white lower leaf stalks and the broad green leaves are edible. The flower stalk only appears after the leaves have died back, unlike the similar Allium ursinum, in which leaves and flowers can be seen at the same time.
Bulb can be eaten raw or cooked and is used mainly as a flavoring in salads and savory dishes. This is one of the best N. American wild species for sweetness and flavor. The bulb is rather small, it is up to 12mm wide and 50mm tall and is produced in clusters on a rhizome. Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Flowers are usually eaten raw as a garnish on salads with a hot onion flavor.
Traditionally the leaves were used in the treatment of colds and croup, and also as a spring tonic. The warm juice of the leaves and bulb was used externally in the treatment of earaches. A strong decoction of the root is emetic. The plant probably has most of the medicinal virtues of garlic, in a milder form.