The wild ramp, AKA wild leek, botanical name Allium tricoccum, is a flowering perennial plant that grows in clusters. It is a member of the Allium family along with onions and leeks
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Amaranth plants can reach heights of over 2 meters tall with fleshy oval shaped leaves that are sometimes pointed at the tips. Some varieties have a deep maroon center of the leaf with streaks of red, purple and green. The Red variety produces feathery purple, magenta or red flowers from the central stalk which is packed with edible seeds. Though the flower buds are edible, once they mature and become bushy they are not palatable and should be avoided. The young leaves are slightly astringent when raw, but are nutty and mild, like spinach. Larger, more mature leaves are best for stewing or braising, similarly to a chard or beet green.
Red Amaranth leaves may be found year-round with peak season in the spring and summer.
Amaranth is the commonly used name for any one of the 60 different species found in the Amaranthaceae family. The name comes from the Greek amarantos, “one that does not wither," or “the never-fading”, alluding to the brilliant bushy flowers that retain color long after harvest. Often regarded as a common weed, one green variety is named “pigweed”, the plants are commercially cultivated for their edible seeds, leafy greens and decorative blooms. The plants are consumed as a green vegetable primarily in Asian cultures, where they are known as callaloo in the West Indies, chawli leaves in India, and cow pea leaves in Africa. Red Amaranth leaves are more often used for their ornamental purposes or even to make red dye, such as the “Love Lies Bleeding” varietal.