Wild Garlic (Ramsons), Allium ursinum
Ramsons, also known as wild garlic, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear's garlic, is a bulbous perennial flowering plant - a wild relative of the onion. It is native to Europe and Asia, where it grows in moist woodland during the Spring months, and is very easily identified by it's strong smell of garlic. The leaves, when washed and chopped, have the most amazing flavour, and can be added to almost anything, or used where you'd usually add garlic! Wild Garlic flowers are also edible, with the both the buds, and (later on) the green seed pods (bulbils) being made into an especially delicious sweet pickle. We look forward to Wild Garlic Season every year and consider them to be a choice wild edible.
Wild Garlic Checklist
🌳 Deciduous Woodland, in shady spaces, usually near to water.
🌊 Waterways, along the banks of rivers, lakes and streams.
🏡 Urban Green Spaces, including woodland parks and gardens.
🌸🌞 Mar - Jun
☘️ Long, lance-shaped green leaves with a single main vein running through the middle. The leaves are narrower when young, but do become quite broad with age. Smell of garlic when crushed.
️🌷 Small, pretty and delicate, the six-petalled white flowers form in groups on the end of a long flower stem. They smell strongly of garlic. They emerge from green-white skin-covered buds.
Fruit / Seeds
🍏 The seeds are contained in small, triple seed pods in the middle of the flower. The are edible when green, but are very hard and unpalatable when black and mature.
🌷 Flowers / Buds
Aroma / Taste
👃 Pungent Garlic Aroma
👅 Delicious garlic flavour, which is even stronger in the buds and flowers.
😋 Choice Edible - absolutely delicious and extremely versatile, this is our favourite edible plant.
🟩 ID Difficulty - Beginner
👃 The smell of wild garlic is the key identifier of this plant. You may even smell it before you see it!
👀 The Pretty flowers and buds are key identifiers of this plant.
⛔️ This plant may be confused with Lily of the Valley and Young Lords and Ladies.
☠️ Lilly of the Valley is a toxic plant with similar leaves to Wild Garlic. It does NOT however, posses a strong garlic smell, which is the key method of distinguishing the two.
☠️ Lords and Ladies is a mildly toxic plant that has vaguely similar leaves to Wild Garlic when young, and grows in similar environments. It has rounded lobes at the base of each leaf, which Wild Garlic Lacks. It also lacks the pungent garlic aroma. The toxin consists of tiny sharp crystals that develop on the plant which can be very painful and unpleasant if touched or eaten. Later in the season, the distinctive cobra-hood flower of Lords and Ladies is also another key indicator that's it not Wild Garlic.
✅ As both Lily of the Valley and Lords and Ladies do NOT possess a pungent garlic aroma, the easiest way to stay safe is to harvest each wild garlic leaf individually, giving them a sniff to ensure the aroma is correct. Harvesting individual leaves also prevents you from picking-up other unwanted plants in with the leaves and inadvertently adding them to your basket.
🥗 Salad - Leaves can be eaten raw and added to salads.
🌺 Garnish - Flowers can be used as a savoury garnish.
🥬 Green - Leaves can be cooked as a leaf vegetable.
🌿 Herb - Leaves or flower buds can be used to add flavour, or as pot-herbs.
🧉 Condiment - Leaves, flowers and buds can be used to make pickles, preserves and sauces.
💊 Herbal Remedy - Like cultivated garlic, wild garlic has many health benefits and is often used medicinally.