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Allium tricoccum (Wild leek)
Cressler, Alan

Allium tricoccum

Allium tricoccum Aiton

Wild Leek, Ramp

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Validallium tricoccum

USDA Symbol: ALTR3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

Two long, glossy, oval leaves appear in early spring and wither away before the smooth, 6-16 inch flowering stalk matures. Small white flowers occur in a hemispherical, terminal cluster; plant has a mild onion taste.

In late April, before this species comes into flower, the people of the Great Smoky Mountains gather the plants for their annual Ramp Festival. The foliage and bulbs can be used in salads and soups. Native Americans treated stings with juice from the crushed bulbs.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Scape up to about 16 inches tall.
Fruit: Seeds black.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: White to yellowish.


USA: AL , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , NC , ND , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SD , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: W. N.B. & s. Que. to ND, s. to New England, MD, mts. to GA & TN, IL & MO
Native Habitat: Rich, deciduous upland & floodplain woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Rich, mesic soils.
Conditions Comments: Grows best where there is sunny condition during early spring. Crushed foliage and bulb have strong onion flavor and may be eaten. Some Allium species can become weedy in warmer climates.


Use Food: EDIBLE PARTS: Leaves, bulbs and bulblets. Field garlic (A. vineale) is too strong for most tastes. Gather leaves during spring and fall. Gather bulbs in the second year when they are large enough to use like cultivated onions. Flower stem bulblets are collected during the summer. Use as domestic onions, for seasoning or raw in salads. Bulbs can be used raw, boiled, pickled or for seasoning. Their strong taste can be reduced by parboiling and discarding the water. To freeze onions or garlic, one should coarsely chop, blanch two minutes, drain, pat dry and place them into plastic bags. The bulbs can also be dried for use as seasoning. Use flower bulbs to flavor soup or for pickling. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)

In late April, before flowering, the people of the Great Smoky Mountains gather these plants for their annual Ramp Festival. The foliage and bulbs can be used in salads and soups. First Nations People treated insect stings with juice from the crushed bulbs. (Niering)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: All parts but causes only low toxicity if eaten; can be safely eaten in small amounts, large quantities not recommended. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea. Toxic Principle: Sulfides. (Niering)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Stratified seed or division. Plant seeds 1/4 in. deep outdoors and transplant the small bulbs the following summer, setting them 1-1 1/2 in. deep. Mature bulbs produce offsets which can be divided in the summer. Plant them 1 1/2 in. deep and cover with
Seed Collection: Collect seeds as soon as they become exposed in the summer.
Seed Treatment: Two months of cold-moist stratification if stored or planted in indoor flats.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 902 - Ex situ plant conservation : supporting species survival in the wild (2004) Guerrant, E. O.; K. Havens; M. Maunder
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1994 VOL. 11, NO.6 - Wildflower Center Featured Non-Profit in Neiman Marcus Christmas Book, Dana Leav...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Allium tricoccum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Allium tricoccum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Allium tricoccum


Record Modified: 2023-04-10
Research By: TWC Staff

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