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Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata

Also known as Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge, Garlic Mustard appears in hedgerows and open woodland in early Spring.

How to spot it

Garlic Mustard sometimes grows to over a metre tall and has leaves that are broadly heart shaped, stalked, with numerous broad teeth, and clusters of small white cross-shaped flowers. The whole plant smells of garlic when crushed.

Where to spot it

It can be found in shady areas of hedgerows and waste places, and open woodland, mostly on fertile moist soils. It flowers from April to June throughout the UK, but is particularly common in England and Wales.

How’s it doing?

Garlic Mustard is still very common throughout the UK and is therefore of least concern.

Things you might not know

  • The seeds of Garlic Mustard have been taken like snuff to cause sneezing.
  • Garlic Mustard is a food source for the caterpillars of the orange tip butterfly.
  • Country people at one time used the plant in sauces, with bread and butter, salted meat and with lettuce in salads. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it was used as a flavouring in sauces for fish and lamb.

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