Some Allium events

Jim McKenney
Mon, 05 May 2008 11:07:37 PDT
Max Withers mentioned that he rarely sees ramps in grocery stores in
Oakland, CA. 

Well, Max, lucky you. I've never seen them in grocery stores in this area,
although each year articles about ramp festivals or ramp recipes appear in
the local press.

It grows in cool mountain forests in nearby West Virginia, and a few weeks
ago I saw it (presumably introduced) growing in a northern Virginia park
opposite Washington, D.C. well outside of its otherwise natural range. 

From a few yards away the foliage of the plants suggests an extremely robust
Erythronium. I would say it has decorative value, although the foliage does
not persist long in good condition. Evidently the local deer don't eat it -
maybe it's just as well because ramp flavored venison might be really good. 

So if you don't like the look of it, you can dig it up and eat it. 

It's a cool plant, like so many other elements of our native flora virtually
unknown in gardens. 

We had a discussion on this forum in the past about this species and what I
presume is its European cognate, A. ursinum: both are called bear onions (or
the equivalent in various languages; for instance, in German Allium ursinum
is Bärenlauch). I’m ashamed to say that bear can still be legally hunted
here in Maryland, and no doubt there have been bear and ramp roasts
somewhere in the state recently.  

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where Romulea ligustica and Triteleia lemmoniae are blooming. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden
Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin 
Webmaster Potomac Lily Society

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