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Home > Weeds > Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard—Alliaria petiolata

A bienniel herb, grows most often in forest understories and along forest edges, where it displaces native plants eaten by wildlife.

garlic mustard leaves garlic mustard plant garlic mustard flowers
First year plants consist of a cluster of 3 or 4 leaves rising 2 to 4 inches in a rosette. Leaves are roundish to heart-shaped and coarsely toothed. Plants produce many small white flowers in the second year, and grow 2 to 3½ feet tall. Each small white flowers has four petals in the shape of a cross. When crushed, leaves and stems release a strong odor, similar to garlic.

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[Photos, left to right: Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service,; Chris Evans, River to River CWMA,; David Cappaert, Michigan State University,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.