Patches of its bright, spring-green leaves can be seen carpeting areas under trees, around ponds, along bicycle paths. It grows in abundance here, though in other parts of Germany it's verboten to pick it, as there is very little of it left.
Its leaves pierce through the dead ground cover of winter.
It looks very similar to other plants which are starting to grow at this time of the year, including Lilly of the Valley, which is toxic. When rubbed, the leaves give off a pungent garlic or chive smell which helps in case of uncertainly.
It's not uncommon to find people, especially older people, trudging into a patch, bag in hand, then bending down to pick some leaves.
The leaves are popular in a soup, but the health benefits are only reaped when it's eaten raw. A pesto is a popular way of eating it.
It is supposed to be good for stomach ailments, as well as to keep ill-intentioned people away from you. Don't know about Vampires, though.
We chopped up the leaves, added olive oil, salt, put it on pasta and grated some Parmesan cheese on top. It gives a wonderful flavour which is not as strong as garlic, but stronger than chives.
There is something incredibly satisfying about harvesting your own lunch. Even if it's just a few green leaves.