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Alliaria petiolata

Common Name(s):
Garlic mustard, Garlicwort, Hedge garlic, Jack-in-the-bush, Mustard Root, Poor man's mustard, Sauce-alone
Edible Plants

An herbaceous biennial flowering plant in the mustard (Brassicaceae) family.  Native to Europe, western and central Asia, and Africa.  It was indroduced to North America as a culinary herb in 1860 and has since become invasive.   In the first year of growth, plants form clumps of round to heart-shaped (10-15 cm long and 5-9 cm wide),coarsley toothed leaves.  When the leaves are crushed smell like garlic. The next year plants flower in spring, producing button-like clusters of cross shaped white flowers with four petals. The fruit is a four-sided elongated pod (4-5.5 cm long).  It starts out green and matures to gray-brown.  Inside are two rows of shiney black seeds which are released when the pod splits open mid-summer.   A single plant can produce hundreds of seeds, which scatter as much as several meters from the parent plant.

All parts of the plant, are edible. The roots smell like horseradish and can be cut up and used in soups and stews. The garlicy leaves can be chopped and used in salads, sauces or pesto. The seeds can also be saved and used to season food.
edible, edible weed, invasive, weed, culinary

NCCES plant id: 2841

Alliaria petiolata Full plant view
hspauldi, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Alliaria petiolata Full plant
NY State IPM Program, CC BY - 2.0
Alliaria petiolata Flower
Paul O'Connor, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Alliaria petiolata Flower close up
retemirabile, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Alliaria petiolata Leaf close up
Frank Mayfield, CC-BY-SA-2.0
Alliaria petiolata Leaves
Michael Wunderli, CC BY - 2.0
Alliaria petiolata Seed pod
Frank Mayfield, CC-BY-SA-2.0