garlic mustard

Capparales > Brassicaceae > Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara & Grande
Synonym(s): garlic-mustard, hedge garlic, sauce-alone, jack-by-the hedge, poor man's mustard, jack-n-the-bush, garlic root, garlicwort, mustard root

Garlic mustard is an herbaceous, biennial forb that is an aggressive invader of wooded areas throughout the eastern and middle United States. First-year plants are basal rosettes with green, heart-shaped, 1-6 in. (2.5-15.2 cm) long leaves. Second-year plants produce a 1-4 ft. (0.3-1.2 m) tall flowering stalk with small, white flowers in the early spring. Plants can be easily recognized by a garlic odor that is present when any part of the plant is crushed and by the strongly toothed, triangular leaves. A high shade tolerance allows this plant to invade high-quality, mature woodlands, where it can form dense stands. These stands not only shade out native understory flora but also produce allelopathic compounds that inhibit seed germination of other species. Garlic mustard is native to Europe and was first introduced into New England during the 1800s for medicinal and culinary purposes.


Identification, Biology, Control and Management Resources

  • Weeds of the Week - USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Area, Forest Health Protection

Selected Images from Invasive.org

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Foliage; 1st-year basal rosette. Clayton County, IA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage; first year leaves
Jil M. Swearingen, USDI National Park Service, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); 1st year rosette
Tom Heutte, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; 1st-year basal rosettes. Clayton County, IA
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Foliage;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Feature(s); S-shaped crook at base of plant helps to distinguish this species. Martin County, KY
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Flower(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
David Cappaert, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s); in flower
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Fruit(s); Long,thin, upright seed pods (siliques). Martin County, KY
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Plant(s);
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Infestation; Understory incursion
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Infestation;
Leslie J. Mehrhoff, University of Connecticut, Bugwood.org
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Control; Before control. Part of a before/after volunteer hand-pull control series. See image #2131100 for after image
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Control; After control. Part of a before/after volunteer hand-pull control series. See image #2132001 for before image
Chris Evans, River to River CWMA, Bugwood.org
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Seed(s);
Steve Hurst, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Diagram or Graphic; Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 170.
USDA PLANTS Database, USDA NRCS PLANTS Database, Bugwood.org
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Invasive Reference(s):

Check Invasive.org for most current lists.
  • Alabama - Noxious Weed Law
  • Alabama - IPC List
  • Connecticut - Noxious Weed Law
  • Georgia - EPPC list
  • Kentucky - EPPC List
  • Massachusetts - Noxious Weed Law
  • New Hampshire - Noxious Weed Law
  • Oregon - Noxious Weed Law
  • Rhode Island - Noxious Weed Law
  • South Carolina - EPPC List
  • Tennessee - EPPC List
  • Texas - Invasive Plant List
  • Vermont - Noxious Weed Law
  • Virginia - Invasive Alien Plant Species
  • Washington - Noxious Weed Law
  • Mid-Atlantic - EPPC List
  • Invasive Plants: Guide to Identification and the Impacts and Control of Common North American Species
  • Invasive Plants of the Upper Midwest
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of New England
  • Invasive Plant Atlas of the Mid-South


External Links


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