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Anyone who has planted wild garlic (Allium ursinum) in the garden, for example under bushes or at the edge of the hedge, can harvest more from year to year. Even in sparse deciduous forests, the weeds form whole colonies, the basket is well filled in no time. Pick the leaves as young as possible before the flowers appear, then the unmistakable garlic taste is still pleasantly mild. The responsible, antibiotic sulfuric oils are - as often claimed - excreted as the garlic on the skin and the breath. The pleasure can hardly be concealed.
Wild garlic begins its growth cycle in February / March, when the deciduous trees under which it grows, still bear no leaves. Because wild garlic needs moist soil, it is common in alluvial forests. While it is common in the south and in the middle of Germany, its occurrence to the north decreases more and more. Since some natural resources have already been decimated due to the increasing popularity of wild garlic, the following rules should be observed: Cut with a sharp knife only one or two leaves per plant and do not dig out the onions. In nature reserves may not be collected!
To avoid confusion
Despite the unique fragrance of wild garlic, it always comes back to confusion with the very poisonous lily of the valley. These drift a little later, usually only from mid-April, and the young leaves are rolled in twos or thirds in the bright green, later brownish bract of the stem. Often, the flower approach with the spherical bell is already recognizable. Wild garlic leaves grow close to each other like a carpet, but always stand alone on their thin, white stem.
Wild garlic (left) and lilies of the valley (right) in comparison
Lilies of the valley and wild garlic can also be distinguished well from the roots. The lily-of-the-valley produces rhizomes that protrude almost horizontally, while the wild garlic has a small bulb on the base of the stem with thin, almost vertically down-growing roots. But if in doubt, still apply: Just grate a leaf and sniff it - and fingers away, if no distinct garlic smell is heard.