Garlic Mustard

Botanical Name :Alliaria petiolata (M. Bieb.) Cavara & Grande
Family : Cruciferae
Genus  : Alliaria
Synonyms: Alliaria officinalis – Andrz. ex M.Bieb.Erysimum alliaria – L. Sisymbrium alliaria – (L.)Scop.
Common Name: Garlic Mustard. (Garlic mustard gets its name from its characteristic odor of garlic when the plant is crushed and its mustard-like appearance. It is a naturalized European biennial herb that poses a significant threat to lowland natural areas as well as gardens and field crops. It belongs to the Brassicaceae (Mustard) family.)

Habitat : Most of Europe, including Britain, south to N. Africa and east to W. Asia and the Himalayas. Damp hedgerows, edges of woods and other shady places, preferring basic soils .land Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Deep Shade; Hedgerow; Bog Garden;

Description:
It is a Biennial  plant.

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Height: First-year rosettes extend to 10 cm (4 in) high. Flowering stems may reach 0.6-1.1 m (2.0-3.5 ft).

Leaves: First-year leaves (which remain the second year) are round to kidney-shaped and are on stems approximately 5.0-6.5 cm (2-3 in) tall. Leaves on flowering plants are alternate and are larger near the base of the stem. They are large-toothed, triangular in shape, and approximately 2.54 cm (1 in) long and 5.0-7.5 cm (2-3 in) wide.
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Flowers: Flowers grow in clusters at the end of the stems. Each flower has four white petals (0.5 cm or 0.2 in long). Blooms in spring, usually in late April to May. Occasionally, some plants will bloom again in July-August.

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Fruit: Fruit is a long 2.5-6.3 cm (1.0-2.5 in) green capsule called a silique, and contains many seeds. Siliques are produced summer to early fall. The capsules burst open when mature and ballistically disperse seeds several meters.

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Seeds: Small, black seeds grow in a row inside the silique. Seeds may remain viable for up to 5 years. Plants can produce up to 868 seeds depending on habitat and population density. Seeds are dispersed by human/animal vectors or by water in riparian areasclick & see

 

Life History
Garlic mustard is a cool-season obligate biennial herb. Seeds germinate in early spring (April-May) of the first year resulting in initially high seedling densities. Natural mortality during the first year results in only 2%-4% of the plants surviving to flower the following spring. Garlic mustard is self- or cross-pollinated and a single plant can populate an entire site. Adult plants set and disperse seed in late spring (May-June) the second year and produce an average of 165-868 seeds. The seeds are dormant for 20 months germinating in early spring of year four.

It is hardy to zone 0 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to June, and the seeds ripen from June to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, Lepidoptera (Moths & Butterflies). The plant is self-fertile. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist or wet soil.

Cultivation :-
Prefers a damp rich alluvial soil. Succeeds in damp shady places where few other herbs will grow. A good woodland edge plant, it also grows well in the bottom of hedgerows and will self-sow freely in suitable conditions. On a calm day the plant emits a strong smell of garlic. This is especially pronounced if the leaves are bruised. This species is an important food source for the orange-tip butterfly.

Propagation:-
Seed – sow outdoors in situ either in spring or autumn.


Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Seedpod.

Young leaves – raw or cooked as a potherb or as a flavouring in cooked foods. A mild garlic and mustard flavour, the leaves are also believed to strengthen the digestive system. They can be finely chopped and added to salads. The leaves are available very early in the year and provide a very acceptable flavouring for salads in the winter. Flowers and young seed pods – raw. A mild, garlic-like flavour.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antiasthmatic; Antiscorbutic; Antiseptic; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Sternutatory; Vermifuge; Vulnerary.

Garlic mustard has been little used in herbal medicine. The leaves and stems are antiasthmatic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, deobstruent, diaphoretic, vermifuge and vulnerary. The leaves have been taken internally to promote sweating and to treat bronchitis, asthma and eczema. Externally, they have been used as an antiseptic poultice on ulcers etc, and are effective in relieving the itching caused by bites and stings. The leaves and stems are harvested before the plant comes into flower and they can be dried for later use. The roots are chopped up small and then heated in oil to make an ointment to rub on the chest in order to bring relief from bronchitis. The juice of the plant has an inhibitory effect on Bacillus pyocyaneum and on gram-negative bacteria of the typhoid-paratyphoid-enteritis group. The seeds have been used as a snuff to excite sneezing.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Other Uses:-
Dye.

A yellow dye is obtained from the whole plant.

Scented Plants
Plant: Crushed
On a calm day the plant emits a strong smell of garlic. This is especially pronounced if the leaves are bruised.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Alliaria+petiolata
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ALPE4&photoID=alof3_002_avp.tif
http://www.se-eppc.org/manual/garlicmustard.html

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Alliaria_petiolata

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