GARLIC MUSTARD
File Size: 83 KB
 
Alliaria petiolata   (M. Bieb. ) Cavara & Grande
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Biennial
Height: 12-42 inches
Family: Brassicaceae - Mustard Family
Flowering Period:   April, May, June
Stems: Erect, unbranched or few-branched from base, glabrous or with few simple hairs.
Leaves: Alternate, simple; basal leaves stalked, upper leaves sessile; stalks .2 to 2.4 inches long; lower blades kidney-shaped, 2.4 to 4 inches long; stem leaves triangular to heart-shaped, 1.2 to 3.2 inches long and wide, progressively smaller upwards; margins coarsely toothed; tips pointed.
Inflorescences: Racemes, terminal or sometimes in leaf axils.
Flowers: About 1/3 inch across; sepals 4, oblong-elliptic, 1/8 to 1/6 inch long, ascending, shed soon after flower opens; petals 4, spatulate, 1/12 to 1/4 inch long, white; stalks short, stout; stamens 6.
Fruits: Pods, linear, 1 to 2.5 inches long, spreading, nearly straight, 4-angled when dry; seeds nearly cylindric, 1/10 to 1/8 inch long, black, ridged.
Habitat: Moist woods, roadsides, flood plains, cultivated fields, gardens, waste area; disturbed, mostly shaded sites; calcareous soils.
Distribution: East 1/3 of Kansas.
Origin: Introduced from Europe. Thought to have escaped from gardens in the 1800s and now naturalized. Planted in gardens as a potherb and for its medicinal properties.
Reproduction: By seeds.
Forage Value: Livestock will seldom eat garlic mustard due to its odor. Cattle that have grazed it will produce milk with a garlic flavor.
Uses: In Europe, it was used as a garlic substitute, in salads or cooked as a potherb. It was also used medicinally to treat asthma. Ground-foraging birds eat the seeds.
Comments: Garlic mustard is highly invasive in moist, shaded sites. It may rapidly threaten native flora. The seeds may persist in the ground for several years. The foliage has a garlic-like odor when crushed.

Garlic mustard leaves
70 KB
Jefferson County, Kansas
Garlic mustard pods
53 KB
Jefferson County, Kansas
Garlic mustard flowers
67 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas
Garlic mustard
73 KB
Konza Prairie, Riley County, Kansas