Plant A Day – Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard Alliaria petiolata

Garlic Mustard
Alliaria petiolata

Who doesn’t hate Garlic Mustard!?  This is the plant that everyone loves to hate.  It’s alien, it’s invasive, it’s not pretty, it crowds out native plants and can make a pretty woods look like an overgrown weedfest.  There’s not much to like, except that you can make pesto from the leaves.  There are about a hundred recipes for it on the internet, so here’s one that sounds good – http://www.monchesfarm.com/PESTO.htm.

In fact, this plant was originally brought to the U.S. from Europe in the late 1800’s as a culinary herb, like a hundred other vegetables, fruits and herbs.  This one got away and wants to take over the world.  It is now quite a problem and has few enemies.  It’s quite possible to get nice pictures of the leaves late in the season since not many insects eat them, if any.  Lately I’ve been seeing big stands of them dying off in the late summer with what looks like a fungus of some sort.  However, this is after they’ve gone to seed so I doubt that it impacts the population much.

The younger leaves are probably better for pesto than the old ones

The younger leaves are probably better for pesto than the old ones

Four-petaled flowers, like other members of the mustard family

Four-petaled flowers, like other members of the mustard family

This demonstrates the invasive nature of the plant

This demonstrates the invasive nature of the plant

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