Garlic Mustard – Alliaria petiolata

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is also known as Hedge Garlic and Jack-by-the-hedge and is a member of the Mustard Family.
It is a short lived plant that is small and white in colour with a yellow center. It flowers from April to June, once the flowering has finished, the seed pods that are produced in a long green capsule, are shed from the plant from around July onwards.

One of this plants most distinctive features is its fresh, green, heart shaped leaves that has a strong smell of garlic when they are crushed. This plant is often found around wodlands, riverbansk and hedgerows where the soil is very fertiles. It requires moderate shade with occasional disturbance to the soils, and is a good food source for the larval of the Orange Tipped Butterfly particularly around riverbanks.


In the first year of this plant establishing itself, the plant forms a small clump of slightly wrinkled leaves, again when they are crushed they smell of garlic. During the next year, the flowers begin to thrive in the spring which produces cross shaped white flowers in dense clusters. Once the flowers begin to grow and come into full bloom, they elongate and begin to look spike shaped. Once this growth is complete, the lants produce upright fruits that release seeds around mid summer time.

Height: 25 -50cm
Flowering Time: July to Sept
Preferred Conditions: Grassland, marshes and damp soil, but prefers non calcareous soil conditions.

Garlic Mustard - Alliaria petiolata