Garlic Mustard

(Alliaria petiolata)



This native to Europe is found in deciduous forests and wetlands, along roadsides, and in disturbed areas. It thrives in shady sites, and can form dense stands. Garlic mustard is suspected of chemically inhibiting the growth of other nearby plants, and is toxic to some native butterflies.


Garlic mustard is a biennial that grows up to 4 feet tall. Rosette leaves have a rounded kidney shape, and mature leaves are arrow shaped with unevenly toothed margins. Injured plant parts smell like garlic. Branch tips produce clusters of four-petaled white flowers, and narrow seed pods grow upright from the stalk. Seeds are sticky when wet, and can remain viable for 5 years in the soil. 


Hand-pull or dig before seed production, completely remove roots, and destroy plants with seedpods. Cutting stems at ground level prevents seed production. Herbicides can be effective.