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(Redirected to Allium tricoccum article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The name Wild leek can also refer to Allium ampeloprasum, a native of Europe.
Wild leek or ramp
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Alliaceae
Subfamily: Allioideae
Tribe: Allieae
Genus: Allium
Species: A. tricoccum
Binomial name
Allium tricoccum

Allium tricoccum, commonly known as ramps, spring onion, ramson, wild leek, or ail des bois (French), is a member of the onion family (Alliaceae). Found in groups with broad, smooth, light green leaves, often with deep purple or burgundy tints on the lower stems and a scallion-like bulb strongly rooted just beneath the surface of the soil. Both the white lower leaf stalks and the broad green leaves are edible. They are found from the U.S. state of South Carolina to Canada and are especially popular in the cuisine of the US state of West Virginia and the Canadian province of Quebec when they emerge in the springtime. A common description of the flavor is like a combination of onions and strong garlic.[1][2][3]

Bulb of the wild leek


Culinary uses

In central Appalachia, ramps are most commonly fried with potatoes in bacon grease or scrambled with eggs and served with bacon, pinto beans, and cornbread. Ramps, however, are quite adaptable to almost any food style and can also be used in soups, puddings, ketchup, guacamole and other foods, in place of onions and garlic.

The community of Richwood, West Virginia, holds the annual "Feast of the Ramson" in April. Sponsored by the National Ramp Association, the "Ramp Feed" (as it is locally known) brings thousands of ramp aficionados from considerable distances to sample foods featuring the plant. During the ramp season (late winter through early spring), restaurants in the town serve a wide variety of foods containing wild leeks.

The city of Elkins, West Virginia, hosts the "International Ramp Festival" during the last weekend in April of each year. This festival features a cook-off and ramp eating contests, and is attended by several hundred people each year.

The community of Whitetop, Virginia, holds its annual ramp festival the third weekend in May. It is sponsored by the Mount Rogers volunteer fire department and features local old time music from Wayne Henderson and other bands and a barbecued chicken feast complete with fried potatoes and ramps and local green beans. A ramp-eating contest is held for children through adults.[4]

In Bradford, Pennsylvania, on the first Saturday in May, is an annual event called "Stinkfest." Local food vendors, providing Chinese, German, Italian, and traditional American cuisine, offer their dishes with ramps included. Highlights include the dip tasting contest, the outhouse races (where teams from local business build rolling outhouses and power them down the main thoroughfare), and appearances by local musical groups. The 8th Annual Stinkfest will be held on May 2, 2009.

In Canada, wild leeks are considered rare delicacies. Since the growth of leeks is not as widespread as in West Virginia and because of destructive human practices, wild leeks are a threatened species in Quebec.

Quebec law

Allium tricoccum is a protected species under Quebec legislation. A person may have wild leek in his or her possession outside its natural environment or may harvest it for the purposes of personal consumption in an annual quantity not exceeding 200 grams of any of its parts or a maximum of 50 bulbs or 50 plants, provided that those activities do not take place in a park within the meaning of the parks act. The protected status also prohibits any commercial transactions of wild leeks; this prevents restaurants from serving wild leek as is done in West Virginia. Failure to comply with these laws is punishable by a fine.[5] However, the law does not always stop poachers, who find a ready market across the border in Ontario (especially in the Ottawa area), where wild leeks may be legally harvested and sold.[6]

Growing in its natural woodland environment.


The name of the U.S. city Chicago is said to originate from "Checagou" (Chick-Ah-Goo-Ah) or "Checaguar," which in the Potawatomi language means "wild onions" or "skunk." The area may have been so named because of the smell of rotting marshland wild leeks (ramps) that used to cover it.

The appearance of ramps in the spring is often used as an indicator to morel mushroom hunters in the Mid-West, much of the South and a few states in the eastern corridor to determine when the mushrooms will begin to appear. The size of the ramp is taken into consideration by morel hunters to measure the length of time before the mushroom season begins.

Ramps in popular culture

Ramps appear quite often on the Food Network show, Iron Chef America, used by Iron Chefs and challengers alike. [7][8]

Ramps appeared on the Bravo show, Top Chef, Season 3, used by two competing chefs[9][10]

Ramps were a mystery ingredient in the main course round in the "Buckwheat Blunders and Twists of Fate" episode of the Food Network show, Chopped.

Ramps in fiction

  • The protagonist of JT LeRoy's novel Sarah encounters ramps for the first time at a truck stop in the wilds of West Virginia, and eating them becomes a rite of passage.

See also

External links



  1. ^ Eric Block, "Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science" (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2010)
  2. ^ Dilys Davies, "Alliums: The Ornamental Onions" (Portland: Timber Press, 1992)
  3. ^ Penny Woodward, "Garlic and Friends: The History, Growth and Use of Edible Alliums" (South Melbourne: Hyland House, 1996)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Éditeur officiel du Québec, "Regulation respecting threatened or vulnerable plant species and their habitats", Gazette officielle, April 25, 2007.
  6. ^ [1]Globe and Mail, "Garlic lovers answer the call of the wild", 21 May 2007
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^


  • Block, E. (2010). Garlic and Other Alliums: The Lore and the Science. (Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. ISBN 978-0-85404-190-9.  
  • Davies, D. (1992). Alliums: The Ornamental Onions. (Portland: Timber Press. ISBN ISBN 0-88192-241-2.  
  • Woodward, P. (1996). Garlic and Friends: The History, Growth and Use of Edible Alliums. (South Melbourne: Hyland House. ISBN ISBN 1 875657 62 2.  

General references

  • Jane Snow, "Hankering For Ramps", The Akron Beacon Journal, April 21, 2004, pp. E1, E4-E5.

Redirecting to Allium ampeloprasum


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