Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Scientific name: Alliaria petiolata

Common names: Garlic mustard

Description: Garlic mustard was introduced from Europe in the 19th century as a culinary plant, and has since become a significant invasive species throughout North America. It is a tap-rooted biennial that sends up 4 ft. high flower stalks in its second year. The flowers have 4 white petals that grow in bunches. The plant has a recognizable garlicky smell early in the season, which distinguishes it from similar looking plants in the area such as fringe cup and nipple-wort.

Impact: Garlic mustard is able to thrive in both forest edges and in the forest understory. It has a number of qualities which make it an especially pernicious invasive plant: it releases a phytotoxin that inhibits the growth of beneficial mycorrhizae (damaging the growth of other plants/trees), it is self-pollinating (one plant is enough to create a viable population), deer do not prefer it as browse material, and it lacks natural enemies. It has been known to interrupt the life cycles of certain butterfly species as well as salamanders. Seeds of garlic mustard are viable for up to 10 years and the plant can survive if only its above ground portion has been removed. If you come across garlic mustard, please contact our office at 503-325-4571.


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