Aglitheis ursina (L.) Raf.
Allium latifolium Gilib.
Allium longipetiolatum St.-Lag.
Allium nemorale Salisb.
Allium petiolatum Lam.
Allium ucrainicum (Oksner & Kleopow) Bordz.
Allium ursinoides G.Don ex Sweet
Allium vincetoxicum Pall. ex Ledeb.
Cepa ursina (L.) Bernh.
Geboscon ursinum (L.) Raf.
Hylogeton ursinum (L.) Salisb.
Moly latifolium (Gilib.) Gray
Nectaroscordum ursinum (L.) Banfi & Galasso
Ophioscorodon ursinum (L.) Wallr.
Common Name: Wild Garlic
Allium ursinum is a herbaceous, perennial plant producing two leaves 10 - 30cm long and a flowering scape 15 - 40cm tall from an underground bulb. The plant divides and also self-sows freely, forming in time a large carpet of growth[
The plant is one of the more commonly harvested wild foods in Europe, both leaves and flowers being used in salads and as a garlic-like flavouring in other foods. The plant also has a range of medicinal uses. It has at times been cultivated for food and medicine[
There have been cases of poisoning caused by the consumption, in very large quantities and by some mammals, of this species. Dogs seem to be particularly susceptible[
Europe - Norway to Britain and France, east to Ukraine, Greece; W. Asia - Caucasus
Damp soils in woods, copses, valleys and similar moist shady localities[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
Prefers woodland conditions in a moist well-drained soil[
]. Plants are often found in the wild growing in quite wet situations[
When growing in suitable conditions, wild garlic forms a dense carpet of growth in the spring and can be a very invasive plant[
]. It dies down in early summer, however, allowing other plants to grow in the same space[
The bulbs should be planted fairly deeply[
The seeds are dispersed by ants[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. Usually available from late January[
]. One report says that they have an overpowering garlic odour that dissipates on cooking[
], though our experience is that they are considerably milder than garlic[
]. The leaves make a very nice addition to salads, and are especially welcome as a vital and fresh green leaf in the middle of winter[
Flowers - raw or cooked. These are somewhat stronger than the leaves, in small quantities they make a decorative and very tasty addition to salads[
]. The flowering heads can still be eaten as the seed pods are forming, though the flavour gets even stronger as the seeds ripen[
Bulb - raw or cooked[
]. A fairly strong garlic flavour, though it is quite small and fiddly to harvest[
]. The bulbs can be harvested at any time the plant is dormant from early summer to early winter. Harvested in early summer, they will store for at least 6 months[
]. The bulbs can be up to 4cm long and 1cm in diameter.
The small green bulbils are used as a caper substitute[
Ramsons has most of the health benefits of the cultivated garlic, Allium sativum[
], though it is weaker in action[
]. It is therefore a very beneficial addition to the diet, promoting the general health of the body when used regularly. It is particularly effective in reducing high blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels[
]. It is recognised as having a good effect on fermentative dyspepsia[
]. All parts of the plant can be used, but the bulb is most active.
The plant is anthelmintic, antiasthmatic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, cholagogue, depuritive, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, hypotensive, rubefacient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[
]. Ramsons ease stomach pain and are tonic to the digestion, so they can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea, colic, wind, indigestion and loss of appetite[
]. The whole herb can be used in an infusion against threadworms, either ingested or given as an enema[
]. The herb is also beneficial in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and emphysema[
]. The juice is used as an aid to weight loss and can also be applied externally to rheumatic and arthritic joints where its mild irritant action and stimulation to the local circulation can be of benefit[
This species makes an excellent native ground cover plant in woodlands - able to totally carpet the ground when growing in moderate shade. It does, however, die down in early summer, leaving the ground bare[
Allium species usually grow well with most plants, especially roses, carrots, beet and chamomile, but they inhibit the growth of legumes[
]. They are, in general, bad companions for alfalfa - each species negatively affecting the other[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the juice of most species in this genus (especially those with a strong onion or garlic smell) can be used as a moth repellent[
The whole plant is said to repel insects and moles[
The juice of the plant has been used as a general household disinfectant[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe either in situ or in a cold frame. It germinates quickly and can be grown on in the greenhouse for the first year, planting out the dormant bulbs in the late summer of the following year. Stored seed can be sown in spring in a greenhouse.
Division in summer after the plants have died down. Very easy, the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.