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Alliaria petiolata

Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande

Alliaria alliaria (L.) Britton

Alliaria officinalis Andrz. ex M. Bieb.

Erysimum alliaria L.

Sisymbrium alliaria (L.) Scop.

Garlic Mustard

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderBrassicalesMustard, cabbage, caper, papaya, nasturtiums, many others; most produce mustard oil
FamilyBrassicaceaeMustards, cabbages
GenusAlliariaDerived from Latin allium, “onion” or “garlic”
Speciespetiolata“Stalked”

About plant names...

Garlic mustard is native to Europe, Asia, northwestern Africa, and parts of India and China. “Garlic mustard” is so-called because the crushed leaves smell faintly of garlic, and the leaves, flowers and fruits taste like mild garlic and mustard. (The plant is a member of the mustard family.) Originally introduced to North America during the 1800s as a culinary herb, it is now naturalized and widespread. It has found itself a place on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted list, and on many similar lists. In addition to replacing larges areas previously populated by a variety of wildflowers, garlic mustard inhibits ectomycorrhizal fungi, which play a key role in forest ecosystems.

Identification: Plants are 12-51" (30-130 cm) tall. Young leaves are triangular, with fairly sharp-toothed serrations; older leaves are heart-shaped, with rounded serrations; all are wrinkly. Leaves are 1¾-3" (5-7.5 cm) long and ¾-2" (2-6 cm) wide. Groups of small white flowers, each less than ¼" (6.3 mm) in diameter, with four petals, appear on the top. The fruits, called siliques, resemble tiny upward-pointing bean pods.

Plants that are often found near garlic mustard include Cut-leaved toothwort, sweet cicely, and early saxifrage. All three of these are occasionally confused with garlic mustard. However, the leaves differ greatly in these species. Cut-leaved toothwort has very narrow, dark green leaves. Sweet cicely has deeply divided, fernlike leaves and 5-petaled white flowers on stalks. Early saxifrage has leaves only at the base, and branching groups of tiny white flowers on long stalks. Its leaves are vaguely similar, but oval-shaped, not heart-shaped.

Edibility: Leaves, flowers and fruit taste mildly of both garlic and mustard, and can be used to flavor salads and pesto.

Online References:

Alliaria petiolata on Missouriplants.com

Alliaria petiolata on Wikipedia

Alliaria petiolata on Invasive.org, Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health

Alliaria petiolata on the USDA Forest Service's Fire Effects Information Database

Alliaria petiolata at Illinois Wildflowers

Alliaria petiolata on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Alliaria petiolata on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Alliaria petiolata on the Plant Conservation Alliance’s Alien Plant Working Group Least Wanted List

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

4/30/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Ayer, MA
≈ 3 × 2½" (7.8 × 6.6 cm)

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

5/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton Center, Groton, MA
≈ 10 × 15" (26 × 39 cm)

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Alliaria petiolata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

4/4/2012 · North Central Railroad Trail, End, Phoenix, MD
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

5/13/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

4/27/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 6 × 4½" (16 × 11 cm)

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

6/7/2010 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Pepperell, MA
≈ 12 × 17" (29 × 44 cm)

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

5/6/2016 · Nashua River Rail Trail, Groton, Groton, MA

Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard)

4/29/2010 · Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, Chelmsford, MA
≈ 14 × 14" (36 × 35 cm)

Range:

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