Ramp (Allium tricoccum Ait.) weight differs across the harvest season: implications for wild plant stewardship and forest farming

Sarah E. Nilson, Eric P. Burkhart, R. Teal Jordan, Joshua D. Lambert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


A ramp or wild leek (Allium tricoccum Ait.) is a perennial forest plant indigenous to mid-western and eastern North America. Throughout this range, ramps are a popular non-timber forest product collected for edible bulbs and leaves. Regarded as a cultural keystone Appalachian wild food in the United States, demand has increased in recent years outside of this region resulting in the development of commercial collection and forest farming. Accordingly, there is a need to identify harvest and stewardship practices that can lessen harvest impacts on wild populations and improve forest farm production. One important component of ramp production is harvest timing, which typically occurs between March 1 and May 30. This study examined the influence of harvest timing on yields, using seven recognizable phenological stages. Total ramp and bulb weight increased 250% and 400%, respectively, between early season and late season stages. This trend was observed regardless of leaf number; three-leaved ramps were significantly larger than two-leaved ramps at each phenological stage. Based on these results, two ways to promote ramp conservation are to delay ramp harvests until ~ 30 days after emergence in the spring to ensure that the late season stage has been attained and to restrict harvesting to three-leaved plants. Because ramps are mostly sold by weight, both actions will lessen harvest impacts by significantly reducing the number of individual plants being removed from a population to achieve a desired weight. However, this must be balanced against the greater contribution of three-leaf plants to seed and clone production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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