Wild Leek

Wild Leek
Wild Leek. Allium tricoccum.
Alliaceae, the onion family.

Plant: Patches of onion-scented, narrowly ovate leaves 6"-12" high sprout from underground bulbs in early spring woodlands. These shrivel and die well before the flowers, umbels of creamy white blooms on naked stalks emerge in mid summer. Perennial.
Flowers: Creamy white, about 1/4", with three petals and three petal-like sepals, in umbels about 1.5" across on naked stalks 6"-18" high that emerge in mid-summer, well after the leaves have disappeared.
Leaves: Basal, narrowly ovate, 6"-12" long, with smooth margins and a mild onion scent and flavor.
Fruit: An umbel of shiny black seeds in groups of 1-3 on papery husks.
Blooming: June-July
Habitat: Deciduous woods

Comments: Also called Ramp. The bulbs and foliage are edible, and widely gathered even today in early spring when the leaves first emerge, some of the first patches of green on the forest floor. In some areas traditional spring festivals are celebrated around this wild harvest.

Where to find it: Scattered through the upper woods of the park. The foliage grows in dense patches, and is markedly obvious in early spring. The flowers appear in late June or July, and are less conspicuous in the mid-summer undergrowth.