closeup of garlic mustard flower

Photo: Mary C. Legg,

Updated: February 22, 2023

About garlic mustard

Life cycle

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a biennial invasive plant that prefers shady forests and floodplains. 

Growth habit

Round to kidney-shaped leaves in rosettes the first year. Following spring, forms erect 1- to 4-ft. shoots with more triangular leaves, and begins flowering and dies by summer. Terminal spikes of white, 4-petaled flowers.

leaves of garlic mustard
Photo: Rob Routledge, Sault College,


Mustard-like seeds in long, slender, upright capsules.

garlic mustard infestation
Photo: Annemarie Smith,


Easy to pull small infestations. Pull it before it goes to flower and seed. 

Additional resources

Plant Invaders of Mid-Atlantic Natural Areas

Weeds Gone Wild: Alien Plant Invaders of Natural Areas

Garlic Mustard | Penn State Extension 

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