UK bulbs on the wiki
Fri, 11 Jun 2004 20:06:49 PDT
Jim McKenney wrote:

>Another question is for Mark McDonough
>and concerns Allium ursinum. {snip}
>is this: as Allium go, are A. ursinum and 
>A. tricoccum closely related? 

Hi Jim, and PBS crew,

I sort of answered this in part, in my last message, posted before seeing 
your message because I receive my PBS posts in daily digest mode.  How close the 
two species are related, I don't know for sure, but they do indeed resemble 
each other.  It is also true, that Allium tricoccum or "ramps", stands quite 
alone among the North American allium scene (unrelated to any other N. American 
allium species), and possibly has relic affinity with Asian flora; the eastern 
USA plant flora connection to Asian flora a known phenomenon.  There is a 
subspecies burdickii, at one point elevated to species standing (which was 
ridiculous) and later reduced back to subspecies standing.  This variant has red 
petioles, reddish tinged leaves (traits found among the typical tricoccum as 
well), and other very minor characteristics that vary only slightly from typical 

Believe it or not, I have never grown Allium ursinum, out of the hundreds of 
Allium species and cultivars I have grown.  I do have but one single bulb of 
Allium tricoccum, which has persisted for some 20 years or more, and blooms 
most years (although sometimes skips a year), but never increases... not even 
into 2 bulbs!  And I've never seen a seedling.  I think it's too dry in my garden 
for it to prosper.  Different than A. ursinum, Allium tricoccum often 
produces spring leaves that disappear totally when it blooms (that's how it behaves 
in my garden), which is quite a bit different than the behavior of ursinum 
where both flowers and leaves are present simultaneously, as far as I know.

Mark McDonough Pepperell, Massachusetts, United States "New England" USDA Zone 5
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