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Legend has it that ramps, growing wild in forests, are the “stinky onion” that gave Chicago its name. (Moira Gibson / Pixabay)

It’s illegal to forage in Cook County forest preserves. Every year, 100 citations are issued for poaching, a significant number of which involve ramps, the wild leek that gave Chicago its name.

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Virginia bluebells are among the spring ephemerals blooming thanks to forest preserve restoration work. (Cindy Parks / Pixabay)

At numerous natural areas across the forest preserve district, low-lying “spring ephemeral” plants are flowering in the kind of sunlight they haven’t enjoyed in decades, thanks to ecological restoration projects.