Alliaria petiolata

Common Names: Garlic mustard, Jack-by-the-hedge, garlic root, hedge garlic, sauce-alone, Jack-in-the-bush, penny hedge, poor man's mustard
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Mustard family

A herbaceous biennial plant growing from a deeply growing, thin, white taproot that is scented like horseradish. In the first year, plants appear as a rosette of green leaves close to the ground; these rosettes remain green through the winter and develop into mature flowering plants the following spring. Second year plants grow from 30 to 100 cm tall. The leaves are stalked, triangular to heart-shaped, 10 to 15 cm long (of which about half being the petiole) and 5 to 9 cm broad, with a coarsely toothed margin. The flowers are produced in spring and summer in button-like clusters. Each small flower has four white petals 4 to 8 mm long and 2 to 3 mm broad, arranged in a cross shape. The fruit is an erect, slender, four-sided pod 4 to 5.5 cm long, called a silique, green maturing pale grey-brown, containing two rows of small shiny black seeds which are released when the pod splits open.

An invasive species in North America, it is found in places where weeds are common including waste areas, roadsides, forests, meadows, and hedges.

Primary Flower Color: White
Secondary Flower Color: White
Edible Notes: Garlic mustard is one of the oldest discovered spices to be used in cooking in Europe. The chopped leaves are used for flavoring in salads and sauces such as pesto, and sometimes the flowers and fruit are included as well. These are best when young, and provide a mild flavor of both garlic and mustard.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.