Garlic Mustard

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a highly invasive non-native plant. It has displaced multitudes of native spring wildflowers like spring beauty (Claytonia virginica), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trilliums (Trillium species) and toothworts (Cardamine). Three native butterfly species, the West Virginia white (Pieris virginiensis), mustard white butterfly (Pieris oleracea), and the falcate orange-tip (Anthocharis midea annicka) are threatened when garlic mustard displaces toothworts, its host plants.

Chemicals in garlic mustard are toxic to the larvae of the native butterflies. Additionally, other chemicals have been found to affect mychorrhizal fungi associated with native trees, suppressing growth of native seedlings.

It's interesting to note that garlic mustard is edible and can be rendered into pesto. Europeans brought it to North America for medicinal and culinary purposes. It is now recognized as a highly noxious invasive plant in the U.S. It is easily pulled by hand from the soil. It's important to remove as many garlic mustard plants as possible as each plant is capable of producing thousands of seeds. It will quickly take over your garden beds if not removed. To learn more about garlic mustard, go to The Nature Conservancy.

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay