Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Narrowleaf Ramps - Allium burdickii   (Hanes) A.G. Jones
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Alliaceae
Author(Hanes) A.G. Jones
DistributionThis species (or taxon) is known from several collections made in Haywood County. As it looks similar to the locally common Red Ramps (A. tricoccum), with which it is often included as a variety, it can certainly be overlooked or misidentified. Thus, it is tentatively known to occur only in the NC Mountains, at higher elevations.

This is a Northern and Midwestern species, as is A. tricoccum, but it seems to be rather scarce over much of its wide range. It ranges, according to Weakley (2018) from "ME west to ND and south to NJ, and in the Mountains to (?) w. VA or possibly w. NC". Thus, its range in the southern part of the Appalachians is unsettled. However, the species does occur throughout TN (not just in the Mountains), and thus perhaps should be thought of as a more Midwestern species ranging east to western NC, rather than a Northern species ranging south to western NC.
AbundanceCurrently considered by this website as extremely rare in the Mountains, but in reality it is of uncertain abundance there. Weakley's (2018) map shows it as "rare" in the NC Mountains, even though the text says "possibly w. NC". On the other hand, the NC NHP considers it as SRF (State Reported Falsely). However, the SERNEC database shows four collections (correctly identified?), all from Haywood County. Thus, this website has given a tentative suggested State Rank of S1?, and also suggesting a State Status of Significantly Rare.
HabitatWeakley (2018) says "Northern hardwood forests, primarily at higher elevations than A. tricoccum, also in cove forests and rich slopes." However, it is likely that there are elevation and habitat overlaps with these two species, and one should not identify A. burdickii by habitat or elevation.
PhenologyBlooms mainly in June, and fruits mainly in August. As with Red Ramps, the leaves emerge in April and have withered by late May or early June, before the flowering scape emerges.
IdentificationThis species (or subspecies of A. tricoccum according to some references) is quite similar to Red Ramps in appearance. However, it has two narrow strap-like basal leaves that are often just 1 inch wide, they have essentially no petiole visible above ground, and the lowest part of the leaves is white. Red Ramps has leaves typically 2 inches wide, and they have a narrow but obvious petiole that is reddish or pinkish. In addition, the erect umbel of creamy flowers has many fewer flowers, typically 10-18, than found on Red Ramps (typically 30-55 flowers). Several of the specimens at NCU (University of North Carolina herbarium) are of flowering stalks, with only perhaps 15 flowers in the umbel. However, it is not certain if one could prove these are true A. burdickii and not depauperate specimens of A. tricoccum, though it is hoped that the identifications are indeed correct.
Taxonomic CommentsAs indicated above, some references, including both Weakley (2018) and NatureServe, shows this as a valid species, and NatureServe's Global Rank of G4G5 lacks the "dreaded" Q to the rank that would indicate Questionable taxonomy. The Flora of North America website and some others have this entity as just a variety -- A. tricoccum var. burdickii.

Other Common Name(s)Narrowleaf Wild Leek, White Ramps
State Rank[S1?]
Global RankG4G5
State Status[SR-P]
US Status
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