Non-native; Garlic Mustard is an invasive plant in many areas. It has only become seriously invasive during the past 20 years or so. There is considerable debate about the best way to eradicate this species from an area.
I have included a lot of photographs of Garlic Mustard to aid in ID of this species, and also to highlight its invasiveness.
Please do not aid the spread of this species by transplanting it, even though you may think it is a good wild edible or medicinal plant!
Origin and Meaning of Names:
Scientific Name: officinalis: of the shopspetiolata: stalked
A single open flower along with many unopened flower buds.
Garlic Mustard bolts upward and blooms very early in the spring, giving it a competitive advantage over many native species. This photo was taken in late April in Ontario.
Flowers and upper stem.
An entire Garlic Mustard plant. Note that the leaves are more rounded near the base, and become more pointed the farther up the stem they are located.
Basal leaves of Garlic Mustard.
Leaves in the winter. Garlic Mustard has the ability to photosynthesize all winter long, which is another competitive advantage this plant has over most native species.
Empty seed husks in winter.
A clump of the previous year's plants.
Garlic Mustard usually grows as a basal rosette for its first season, then bolts upward the following spring.
Garlic Mustard will grow practically anywhere, such as high in this tree!
Garlic Mustard is a seriously invasive non-native plant. It can completely take over a wide area once it gains a foothold.
Garlic Mustard invading a field. Note how tall it has grown, and this photo was taken at the beginning of May in Ontario!
A woodland trail in Pelee National Park. 100% of the ground cover in this area is Garlic Mustard.
Some vigorously healthy Garlic Mustard plants.
Spreading out from the base of a tree.
The "nice green carpet" of small plants you see here is actually a carpet of tiny Garlic Mustard rosettes.