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Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata (Bieb.) Cavara & Grande
Garlic Mustard Garlic Mustard
Chris Evans, University of Georgia


Commodities Affected:
Forestry and Natural Areas



Garlic mustard is a biennial herb. It begins as a rosette of kidney-shaped garlic-smelling leaves in the first year. The second-year plants grow a stem up to 4 feet tall with triangular sharp-toothed leaves and small white four-petaled flowers in clusters at the top of the stem. The plants die after setting seed. Garlic mustard can produce several thousand seeds from one plant, and the seeds can remain viable for seven years or more.  Garlic mustard can grow in dense stands covering many acres of forest understory. Now found throughout Indiana, it is a particular threat to spring wildflowers, overtopping and shading them out. Compared to the diversity of plants it eliminates, it provides little food for wildlife.  <>


In 100 Years of Change in the Distribution of Common Indiana Weeds by William and Edith Overlease (2002) reported that garlic mustard was not found in Indiana in 1899 (Coulter’s Catalogue of Indiana Plants) or in 1940 (Deam’s Flora), but in 2002 it could be found in the following 84 counties: Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Boone, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, DeKalb, Delaware, Elkhart, Fayette, Floyd, Fountain, Franklin, Fulton, Grant, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Harrison, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jasper, Jay, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Lake, La Porte, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Martin, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Porter, Posey, Pulaski, Putnam, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, St. Joseph, Scott, Shelby, Spencer, Starke, Steuben, Switzerland, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Union, Vigo, Wabash, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Wells, White, and Whitely.