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Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata


Biennial or winter annual herb typically grows to about 3 feet tall, but can be anywhere from a few inches to over 6 feet tall depending on conditions Plants are usually single-stemmed, but may have more stems if they were cut Small, white 4-petaled flowers appear in early spring and are in clusters at the top of the stem First year plants are low-growing rosettes with rounded, kidney-shaped leaves, scalloped on the edges Leaves are not noticeably fuzzy or hairy (unlike most look-alike species) Upper leaves on mature plants are more triangular, becoming smaller toward the top of the plant, coarsly toothed Plants often smell like garlic, especially when leaves are crushed Each plant usually produces one flowering stem. If a plant is cut or stepped on, many stems will form Roots typically have a characteristic s-shaped bend


Garlic mustard frequently occurs in moist, shaded soil of river floodplains, forests, roadsides, edges of woods and trails edges and forest openings. Disturbed areas are most susceptible to rapid invasion and dominance. Though invasive under a wide range of light and soil conditions, garlic mustard is associated with calcareous soils and does not tolerate high acidity. Growing season inundation may limit invasion of garlic mustard to some extent.


Garlic Mustard can be used in many dishes that call for spinach or garlic. If, for example, you’re making spinach lasagna and replace it with Garlic Mustard, you’ll find that the mustard adds a little “kick” to it.

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Spotted by

Fridley, Minnesota, USA

Spotted on May 16, 2015
Submitted on May 17, 2015

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