Friday, 21 April 2017

Pagan Eye: Wild Garlic Just Starting to Flower

Next to the beautiful bluebell woods at Arlington in Sussex, which I visited over Easter, there is a wood full of wild garlic. Now, you might think that wild garlic isn't quite as attractive as bluebells - or as pleasant smelling - but it is still a very important wild plant.

Actually, several different plant species of the genus Allium are known as wild garlic. The type in my photo - taken at the Arlington wood - is Allium ursinum, which is also known as ramsons. The leaves of ramsons are edible and, as you might imagine, taste of garlic. They can be put in a salad, boiled as a vegetable or used to flavour soups and stews. If you are foraging for wild garlic, do be careful to identify them correctly as the leaves are similar to some poisonous plants, including Lilly of the valley.

According to the Woodland Trust, ramsons are an ancient woodland indicator - meaning that this species can be used to aid identification of ancient woodland sites.

In folklore, the second half of this plant’s Latin name, ursinum, refers to the fact that brown bears are apparently very partial to the bulbs. I'm glad there weren't any bears in the woods while I was there :)

Ramson bulbs have been used in herbal remedies as tonics to relieve rheumatic problems and lower cholesterol. According to folklore, eating wild garlic is also good for the digestion.

On each of my Pagan Eye posts, I show a photo that I find interesting, with a few words about it.
If you want to send me a photo for a Pagan Eye post, please email it to Let me know what the photo shows and whether you want your name mentioned or not. For copyright reasons, the photo must be one you have taken yourself and you must confirm that you are submitting it for A Bad Witch's Blog.

Note: This is intended as information only, not advice. Always consult a qualified expert before taking any herbal remedy.

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