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4/04/2009

50 Natives: West Virginia: Allium tricoccum – Ramps

It is spring and it is Ramp season. Ramps are type of wild onion/leek that are native to much of the eastern US but are revered as a welcome spring herald in West Virginia. Mountain people (is that PC for Hillbilly?) of the Southeast honor these savory plants and celebrate the occasion of their emergence with festivals. The pungent vernal greenery is their spring tonic as part of a tradition that has been passed for many generations and was also know to native Americans.

ramps t-shirt

You can buy this Ramps festival t-shirt here.

Did you know that the City of Chicago was named for the Ramp? The Menomini Indians called them pikwute sikakushia (skunk plant), and they referred to an area near the southern shore of Lake Michigan, where ramps grew abundantly, as CicagaWuni or shikako (skunk place). The term was later applied to a settlement now known as Chicago.

Their mild flavor is popular with Chefs and you can order some online and find great recipes at Earthy Delights . — Or you can plant this great native in your garden.

ramps wild leeks west virginia native

1. ramps3-shushan-UMS-0508, 2. leek shoots, 3. A Field of Ramp, 4. Wild Leek, 5. ramps, 6. Ramps (Wild Leek)

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  1. Tatyana says:

    Interesting post, thanks!

  2. mary spring says:

    I would love any information on wild edibles native to New Hampshire and where to gather them.
    I live in Rochester N.H. very close to the forests of conway.

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