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Garlic mustard


Family: Cruciferae, mustard family
Genus, species: Alliaria officinalis

Garlic mustard is a biennial, requires two years to reach maturity. During the first year, plants form clumps of small rounded leaves. During the second year, plants have larger leaves that are heart-shaped or triangular with coarsely toothed edges.

Flowers are small, white, four petals. Garlic mustard produces flowers during the second year of growth.

Fruit is a long slender pod, up to 2 inches long.

Seeds are very small, shiny, black. One plant can produce hundreds of seeds.

Garlic mustard is shade-tolerant and grows well in disturbed areas.

More Information:

Garlic mustard is an invasive weed native to Europe. It was introduced to the United States in the late 1800s. Garlic mustard is aggressive and widespread invader.  It suppresses native understory plants, including tree seedlings.  

Garlic mustard roots release allelopathic chemicals that are toxic to mycorrhizal fungi and roots of other plants. 


Garlic mustard is in the mustard family of plants and is unrelated to garlic.  The name "garlic mustard" is because the plant smells like garlic when crushed.  

The family name, Cruciferae, is from the Latin for "cross-bearing," referring to the fact that all flowers have four petals.  The genus name, Alliaria, is from the Latin for garlic-like.  The species name, officianalis, is from the Latin for "of the apothecaries" or "official medicines sold in shops."