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Allium ursinum – Wikipedia

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Etymology and History:
– Latin name ‘ursinum’ linked to bears’ affinity for the bulbs
– Common names across languages reference bears
– ‘Ramsons’ derived from the Saxon word ‘hramsa’
– Usage in English cuisine for over 1,500 years
– Theories connecting the name to Ursa Major

Description and Distribution:
– Bulbous, perennial herbaceous plant
– Reproduces mainly by seed
– Bright green elliptical leaves with a petiole
Umbel inflorescence with white star-like flowers
– Found in temperate regions of Europe, common in British and Irish lowlands
– Two subspecies: ‘ursinum’ in western and central Europe, ‘ucrainicum’ in the east and southeast

Medicinal and Herbal Uses:
– Credited with medicinal qualities
– Treats cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive issues
– Rich in minerals, particularly magnesium
– Popular in homeopathy and wound sterilization

Habitat and Edibility:
– Grows in deciduous woodlands with moist, slightly acidic soils
– Associated with bluebells in the British Isles
– Indicator species for ancient woodlands
– Leaves, stems, bulbs, and flowers are edible
– Used in various dishes, salads, cheese, sauces, and fodder

Ecology and Interactions:
– Important food for brown bears and wild boar
– Primary larval host plant for the ramsons hoverfly
– Pollinated by bees
– Integral part of forest ecosystems, providing food and habitat for various species.

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