Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weed ID: Alliaria petiolata

Alliaria petiolata is better known as garlic mustard, a terrible invasive biennial. It is a member of the mustard family, Brassicaceae, and is edible. Some of my cute conservation friends like to make garlic mustard pesto. I find the greens to be a bit too bitter by the time I finally get them out of the garden.
The basal rosette of foliage wth pronouned venation and toothed foliage is what you are looking for. They will flower spring and summer, and set seed very quickly, so you want to get them out now before they have a chance.
You will find them to have fibrous roots and a big tap root so be sure to use a weeding knife that is at least 6" long and try and get every part of the plant out of the ground.
Black bag these weeds and garbage them, do not add them to your compost pile!

By the way these might also look a tiny bit like the Viola weed that is out right now, actually the Viola could almost look like a cross of the garlic mustard and lesser celandine (if that was possible), with its little heart-shaped leaves and serrated leaf margins, and little solitary viola flowers white and purple. Go ahead and get rid of them while you are at it. Sorry I don't have a pic of the Viola specifically but if you look at the first three pics above there is a little viola in the lower left-hand corner.

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