Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Alliaria petiolata - Garlic Mustard

Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard) [E-flora]

"Alliaria petiolata is a BIENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in). It is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to June, and the seeds ripen from Jun to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, lepidoptera, self.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil." [PFAF]

Introduction: "Garlic mustard is a highly invasive introduced species in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) that originates from Eurasia. In North America, it is found in many US states, particularly in the eastern US, though it is absent in the southern US states from Florida to California (USDA 2011). In Canada, it is found in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. In Ontario, it is often a dominant understorey herb in disturbed sites and can form a thick ground cover. In BC, it is reported from the Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and the Victoria area. It is a biennial tap-rooted species with an erect form and white mustard-type flowers. It is easily recognized by its dark green kidney-shaped leaves and the noticeable garlic odour of crushed leaves. It is known to inhibit ectomycorrhizal fungi where it grows, which may influence seedling establishment of native species (Wolfe et al. 2008). There is evidence that some populations of this species in North America originated from the British Isles, though it is possible that there have been multiple introductions from other locations (Meekins et al. 2001)." [E-flora]

General: "Biennial herb from a taproot; stem erect and unbranched below inflorescence, sparsely hairy below, glabrous or with whitish bloom above, 20-120 cm tall; garlic smell, especially from root but also from crushed leaves." [IFBC-E-flora]

Notes: "Alliaria petiolata is considered an emerging invasive species in the Vancouver region by the Greater Vancouver Invasive Plant Council (2009). An emerging invasive is defined by them as: currently found in isolated, sparse populations but are rapidly expanding their range within the region." [E-flora]

Habitat / Range
"Mesic to dry disturbed sites and waste places in the lowland and lower montane zones; rare in SW and SC BC; introduced from Eurasia."[IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Exotic. [E-flora]

Food Usage

Other Usage

Herbal Usage

"Garlic mustard has been little used in herbal medicine[268]." [PFAF]

Prefers a damp rich alluvial soil[7, 53]. Succeeds in damp shady places where few other herbs will grow[238]. A good woodland edge plant, it also grows well in the bottom of hedgerows[24] and will self-sow freely in suitable conditions[238]. On a calm day the plant emits a strong smell of garlic. This is especially pronounced if the leaves are bruised[245]. This species is an important food source for the orange-tip butterfly[238]." [PFAF]

Seed - sow outdoors in situ either in spring or autumn." [PFAF]



Alliaria Sp.

The genus Alliaria contains 3 accepted, 17 synonyms and 1 unassessed species. [ThePlantList] There appears to be little information online about this genus. [PersonalNote]

Local Species;


Page last modified on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 10:23 PM