Garlic mustard is a plant that tastes like it sounds. In its native range, it has been used as a cooking herb for centuries.
Its native range, however, does not include Wisconsin. Here, the plant tends to spread widely, and kill other plants. It does this by poisoning fungi that live in soil and benefit native plant species.
Garlic mustard is easy to recognize: it has fan-shaped leaves and small flowers with four white petals. Unlike dandelions, garlic mustard is easy to pull up. This is an effective way of getting rid of it.
After garlic mustard is pulled, it can be sent to one of three fates:
- If the area has not been treated with herbicides or other chemicals, the leaves of the plant can be eaten. They are delicious in salads and pasta sauces, or on their own!
- If the plant may have chemicals on it, but it has not yet flowered, it can be composted.
- If the plant may have chemicals on it, and it has flowered, it should be placed in the garbage. This is because the plant can finish setting seed after being pulled, and the seeds can survive the composting process, allowing more plants to pop up the following year.
The leaves of garlic mustard look like this:
The flowers look like this:
A group of plants looks like this: