Wild Garlic, Allium canadense, is a great plant to add some seasoning to your foraged goods. This plant pops up in early spring but it is hard to distinguish from other Allium. The flowers have six regular parts; basal leaves that are entire, long, and narrow; and a bulb for a root.
The nutritional value of Wild Garlic is unknown but it can be speculated that it may be a good source of vitamin C. History Buffs might be interested to know that besides the American Indians utilizing this plant as a food source, Lewis and Clark chewed on the bulblets to fight off starvation and scurvy. Though this plant is called Wild Garlic the flavor is more reminiscent to onions rather than garlic.
The Cherokee had a variety of medicinal uses for this plant using it for things such as gout, colds, coughs, headaches and more. The Mahuna used Wild Garlic as a protection against venomous creatures, and western medicine used this plant for a variety of ailments.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
Wild Garlic Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Brill, Steve. Wild Edibles Plus. Computer Software. WinterRoot LLC. Version 1.5. 2012. Web. Feb. 15, 2014.
Felter, Harvey Wickes, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. King’s American Dispensatory, Vol. 1. Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Company, 1905. pg. 145-146
Fernald, Merritt Lyndon & Alfred Charles Kinsey. Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 1996. Print. pg. 126-130
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 34-36
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 35
Herrick, James William. Iroquois Medical Botany. Ph.D. Thesis, New York: State University of New York, Albany 1977. Print. pg. 243
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 57
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 334-335
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 114-115
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.