closeup of garlic mustard flower

Photo: Mary C. Legg,

Updated: April 13, 2021

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,