Ramsons (Wild garlic)

Latin name: Allium ursinumRamsons

Where: Mostly in deciduous woodland, for example on Inchcailloch

When: Flowers in May

A plant you smell before you see! Its garlicky reek wafts through the trees in the woodlands where it blooms in profusion. The beauty of its starry flowers, held in a bunch at the top of a single stem, belies its exotic smell. It flowers at roughly the same time as the more fragrant bluebell, and a woodland walk may take you though alternating carpets of blue and white, sweet-smelling and pungent. They rarely grow together.

Both the long, strap-like leaves and flowers make good eating. The former gives a mild, garlic flavour to a salad, while the blooms add both a decorative touch and a powerful punch. In fact people have been eating wild garlic for thousands of years. A carbonised bulb was found in the National Park at Fairy Knowe broch near Aberfoyle!

Any natural place contains an infinite reservoir of information, and therefore the potential for inexhaustible new discoveries.

Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods