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Wild Garlic

Allium ursinum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Alliaceae (Onion)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, riverbanks, waterside, woodland.

White, 6 petals
White, star-shaped and with 6 pointed petals on a tall erect leafless stalk. Flowers in an umbel.
Many small globular, green seed pods.
Spear-shaped leaves with pointed tips, up to 20cm long and 7cm wide.
The whole plant has a very pleasant and potent smell, similar to onions.
Other Names:
Bear Garlic, Bear Leek, Bear's Garlic, Broad-leaved Garlic, Buckrams, Crow Garlic, Devil's Garlic, Field Garlic, Gypsy's Onions, Ramsons, Stinking Jenny, Wood Garlic.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Allium ursinum, also known as wild garlic, bear garlic, or ramsons, is a species of wild onion that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a perennial plant that grows from a bulb, and produces a single stem with broad, dark green leaves and a dense umbel of small, white flowers.

The leaves, flowers and bulbs are edible and have a mild garlic-like taste, making it a popular herb in the kitchen. It has a strong garlic smell and can be used in a variety of dishes such as soups, salads and other savory dishes. The flowers are also edible and are sometimes used as a garnish.

The leaves of the plant can be harvested in early spring, before the flowers bloom, and used as a flavorful and healthy ingredient. Medicinally, it is believed to have anti-inflammatory, diuretic and antimicrobial properties. It is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and can be found in the wild in damp woodlands, and along riverbanks, but it can also be grown in gardens.


Wild garlic, also known as Allium ursinum or ramsons, is a plant species native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the Allium family, which also includes onions, leeks, and chives. Wild garlic has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant and a flavorful ingredient in many dishes.

Appearance and Characteristics

Wild garlic is a perennial plant that grows up to 50 cm tall. It has long, slender leaves that are a dark green color and have a strong garlic scent. The flowers of wild garlic are white and star-shaped, and they bloom in the spring. The bulbs of wild garlic are small and round, and they are edible but not commonly used.


Wild garlic has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant. It has been used to treat various ailments, including respiratory infections, digestive issues, and high blood pressure. Wild garlic has also been used as a natural insect repellent.

In the culinary world, wild garlic is used as a flavoring agent in many dishes. The leaves of wild garlic can be used in place of garlic cloves in recipes. Wild garlic can also be used to make pesto, soups, and sauces. In addition to its culinary uses, wild garlic is also used as a garnish.

Health Benefits

Wild garlic is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. It is high in vitamin C, which is essential for the immune system. Wild garlic also contains iron, calcium, and potassium. It has antioxidant properties that may help protect the body against oxidative stress and prevent chronic diseases.

Wild garlic has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. It may be effective against certain bacteria and viruses, making it a useful natural remedy for infections.


Wild garlic is generally safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, some people may experience gastrointestinal discomfort, such as bloating or gas, when consuming wild garlic. It may also interact with certain medications, so it is important to consult a healthcare provider before using wild garlic as a medicinal plant.

General Information

One of the unique things about wild garlic is that it often grows in dense patches, covering forest floors and other shaded areas. This makes it easy to harvest in large quantities, which is one reason why it has been used as a food source for centuries. In some parts of Europe, wild garlic festivals are held in the spring to celebrate the harvest.

Wild garlic is also a great plant for foraging, as it is easy to identify and can be found in many different types of habitats. However, it's important to be sure you are harvesting the correct plant and not confusing it with poisonous plants like lily of the valley or autumn crocus.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, wild garlic has also been used for its spiritual properties. In some traditions, it is believed to have protective powers and is used to ward off evil spirits or negative energy.

Wild garlic is a fascinating plant with a rich history and many practical uses. Whether you are interested in cooking, herbal medicine, or just enjoying nature, wild garlic is definitely worth learning more about.

Wild garlic is a plant that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory infections, high blood pressure, and digestive issues. Some studies have also suggested that wild garlic may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

One of the benefits of wild garlic is that it is easy to grow and can be grown in many different types of soil. It is also a hardy plant that can survive in cold temperatures, making it a popular choice for gardeners and farmers in cooler climates.

When using wild garlic in cooking, it's important to note that the flavor can be quite strong, so it's best to use it sparingly at first and adjust the amount to your taste. Wild garlic leaves can be used raw or cooked, and can be added to salads, soups, and stir-fries. Wild garlic bulbs can also be eaten raw or cooked, but they are much smaller than traditional garlic bulbs and may not be as flavorful.

In terms of its nutritional value, wild garlic is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. It is also low in calories, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

Wild garlic is also a popular ingredient in traditional medicine, especially in Eastern Europe. It is believed to have many health benefits, including the ability to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, and improve heart health.

One of the reasons why wild garlic is considered so beneficial is its high content of allicin, a compound that has been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Allicin is also responsible for the strong odor and flavor of garlic.

In addition to its health benefits, wild garlic is also an important part of the ecosystem. It provides food and habitat for many different types of insects and animals, and is an important source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

However, like many plants, wild garlic can also become invasive in some areas, especially when it is planted outside of its native range. It's important to be aware of the potential risks of introducing wild garlic to new habitats, and to take precautions to prevent it from spreading uncontrollably.

Overall, wild garlic is a fascinating plant with a long history of use in cooking, medicine, and spirituality. Whether you are interested in its health benefits, its culinary uses, or its ecological importance, there are many reasons to explore this versatile and flavorful plant.

General Facts about Wild Garlic

  • Wild garlic is also known as ramsons, wood garlic, bear garlic, and buckrams.
  • It is native to Europe and Asia and has been naturalized in other parts of the world, including North America.
  • The plant produces small white flowers in the spring, which are also edible and have a mild garlic flavor.
  • Wild garlic is a popular ingredient in traditional dishes such as pesto, soups, and sauces.
  • It can also be preserved by pickling, drying, or freezing for later use.
  • Wild garlic has a milder flavor than traditional garlic, which makes it a great substitute for people who are sensitive to the strong taste and smell of regular garlic.
  • It is easy to cultivate in a home garden, either from seed or by transplanting bulbs from a wild patch.
  • Wild garlic is a great plant for companion planting, as it can repel pests and attract beneficial insects to the garden.
  • The leaves of wild garlic can also be used to make a natural insect repellent, which can help keep mosquitoes and other bugs at bay.
  • In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, wild garlic has also been used for dyeing fabric and for making soap and other household products.


Wild Garlic filmed along the river Yarrow near Chorley, Lancashire on the 12th May 2022.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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