FoI
Garlic Mustard   
Foto info
Garlic Mustard
ative Photo: Alok Mahendroo
Common name: Garlic Mustard, hedge garlic, jack-by-the-hedge
Botanical name: Alliaria petiolata    Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard family)
Synonyms: Arabis officinalis, Arabis petiolate, Sisymbrium alliaria

Garlic Mustard is a herbaceous biennial plant, growing from a deeply growing, thin, white taproot that is scented like horse-radish. Second year plants grow uo to 30-100 cm tall. The leaves are stalked, triangular to heart-shaped, 10-15 cm long (of which about half being the stalk) and 5-9 cm broad, with a coarsely toothed margin. In biennial specimens, first-year plants appear as a rosette of green leaves close to the ground. These rosettes remain green through the winter and develop into mature flowering plants the following spring. The flowers are produced in spring and summer in button-like clusters. Each small flower has four white petals 4-8 mm long and 2-3 mm broad, arranged in a cross shape. The fruit is an erect, slender, four-sided pod 4-5.5 cm long, called a silique, green, maturing pale grey-brown, containing two rows of small shiny black seeds which are released when the pod splits open. A single plant can produce hundreds of seeds, which scatter as much as several meters from the parent plant. The leaves, flowers and fruit are edible as food for humans, and are best when young. They have a mild flavour of both garlic and mustard, and are used in salads and pesto. They were once used as medicine. Garlic Mustard is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir to Nepal, at altitudes of 2200-3100 m. Flowering: April-August.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Kalatope-Khajjiar Wildlife Sanctuary, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.
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