Ramps are a commonly known wild edible plant especially because chefs love them for their flavor. They are like leeks are great in a variety of dishes.
Foragers have been depleting wild ramp populations in the Appalachians for many years. It takes 7 years for a ramp plant to grow to maturity. The safest thing to do is to never take the root and growing ramps in your own yard is a good way to keep this species strong.
They are best harvested in the spring. By summer, the leaves die back due to the heat and the flower stalk emerges and blooms.
Leaves: Lanceolate, smooth, tightly furled when young, then open to a wide, flat blade that narrows toward the base. About 8 inches high at most.
Root: White, roundish but not a ball. Roots tiny.
Habitat: Shady, damp soil throughout the year.
Buying Tips: If you plan to purchase these for your yard, it’s recommended that you buy the young plants because they likely won’t get large enough to harvest until they are 7 years old.