Garlic Mustard

The Bioblitz ends tonight! After 11 days our most common observation, by far, is the invasive plant Garlic Mustard, Alliaria petiolata.

Here's our Garlic Mustard observations so far.

Garlic Mustard is an edible plant, native to Europe. It's rich in vitamins and has a garlicky flavor, so Europeans brought it to North America as a food source in the 1800s. It was first reported on Long Island in 1868, and since then it has spread across the US and Canada all the way to the Pacific coast.

Why has Garlic Mustard been able to spread so far and wide? There are several reasons. It grows fast, can tolerate a wide variety of conditions, and few native animals will eat it. It reproduces rapidly, and healthy plants can produce hundreds or even thousands of seeds. In addition, Garlic Mustard is allelopathic, which means that it releases compounds that inhibit the growth of other plants and beneficial soil fungi. Garlic Mustard has been shown to decrease the biodiversity of forests by outcompeting other plants.

What's the best way to control Garlic Mustard? Chemical control is one solution, but that can be dangerous and harm beneficial organisms. Pulling it out by hand is another way - make sure to get the roots. It's best to pull Garlic Mustard in the spring, before seeds form.

Here's Elisabeth Jane's picture of Garlic Mustard from Mendham, NJ.

Posted by brucetaterka brucetaterka, May 29, 2020 14:03

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