Garlic Mustard
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Garlic Mustard
ative Photo: Seema Bin Zeenat
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. The flowers are produced in button-like clusters. Each small flower has four white petals 4-8 mm long and 2-3 mm broad. The fruit is an erect, slender, four-sided pod 4-5.5 cm long. 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 Rajouri, J&K & Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.

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