Garlic mustard Alliaria petiolata

Best Time to See
Habitat Woodland

'Above the Quick set blooms "Jack by the hedge" His white flowers shine all down the narrow lane'- John Clare, "Spring" 


Also known as Hedge Garlic or Jack-by-the-Hedge, this wild flower appears in clumps in hedgerows and open woodland in early Spring with bright green leaves and clusters of small white flowers.

How to spot it

Sometimes growing to over a metre tall, hedge garlic 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 it grows

Found in shady areas of hedgerows and waste places, and open woodland, mostly on fertile moist soils.

Best time to see

In flower from April to June.

How's it doing?

Found throughout the UK, but very common in England and Wales.

3 things you might not know

  • The seeds have been taken like snuff to cause sneezing.
  • The plant 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.