CT E P
Soil: Rich, Organic Loam, Well-drained
Moisture: Average to Medium Wet
Light: Part Sun to Shade
Plant Height: 6 to 12 inches
Plant Width: 12 to 24 inches
Landscape Value: Good for mass planting in deciduous, low woodlands and shade gardens.
A prized treat that’s difficult to find in food stores! This early spring plant has two long, glossy leaves that grow from a slender onion-like bulb and wither before flower stalks mature. Clusters of white flowers bloom in late spring to summer and attract numerous bees and flies. A favorite of foragers, over harvesting of wild populations has led to declines in some areas. Collecting bulbs is not recommended. To harvest sustainably, leave the bulbs in the ground and clip a few leaves from each plant. If bulbs are collected, wait until the second year when they are large enough to use and leave behind the base of the bulb (with attached roots). Collect bulbs only after seeds have ripened and use seeds to reseed the soil disturbed during harvesting. Seeds may take two years to germinate. Leaves and bulbs are edible with a mild onion/garlic flavor that can be used in place of leeks or green onions. Small bulblets on flower stalks can be collected in summer and used in salads.
Warning: All plant parts can be mildly toxic if eaten in excess. Eating large quantities is not recommended.
Planting Tip: Mulch with 2 to 3 inches of composted hardwood leaves or natural leaf litter. Wait 2 to 3 years to harvest.
1 quart pot (each pot contains 2 to 3 bulbs)
North Carolina State Extension (photos by Wendell Smith)
University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension