I still did not know what they were, but kept searching with the help of the internet to try to identify it. Finally, I stumbled onto it – ramps (Allium tricoccum), also known as wild leek. Ramsons (Allium ursinum), also known as wild garlic, are a close relative found in the UK. The main difference in the 2 is that ramsons flower while the leaves are still present and the ramps don’t flower until the leaves are gone. And the flowers are more developed in ramsons. For a picture of ramsons in bloom click here. I have been reading a number of blogs from the UK that have recently mentioned ramsons.
Fast forward to spring 2010 and now we can see the classic lily leaves in the area where I first saw the flowers last year.
I harvested a few plants to try to cook. The bulbs are very delicate, almost translucent, and the stems are a lovely magenta.
They are quite pungent, even Max noticed. :-)
Ramps grow in the Appalachian Mountains of the southeastern US and in the northern states up into Canada. They do not tolerate hot weather. Every spring throughout the Appalachian Mountains there are ramps festivals. You can read more about the festivals and find links them here.