Invasive species - Garlic mustard

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What are they?

A biannual or winter annual plant, garlic mustard is a Class A noxious weed that typically reaches heights of 2–6 feet. This weed spreads by seed and has the ability to self-pollinate, which helps it quickly supplant native plants in places like woodlands, riverbanks, and along footpaths. Native wildflowers and tree seedlings are quickly displaced by garlic mustard's fast expansion and the roots emit chemicals that alter the makeup of the soil and make it more difficult for native plants to thrive by preventing essential fungi from growing, which are, furthermore, necessary for native plants to obtain nutrients.

History and impacts

This species, which was initially introduced from Europe as a food plant, is now a major threat in forests throughout North America.

A biennial non-native plant that spreads by seed is garlic mustard. Although it is edible for humans, neither local fauna nor insects consume it. Once established, it is challenging to eradicate since it may self- or cross-pollinate, produces a lot of seeds, outcompetes local flora, and can grow in a very stable forest understory and it thrives in both areas of deep shade and sunlight.

Garlic mustard can invade relatively undisturbed forests. Once established, it can displace native wildflowers like trilliums (Trillium sp) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum). It hinders other plants by interfering with the growth of fungi that bring nutrients to the roots of the plants.

The plant threatens several of Ontario’s species at risk, including American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), drooping trillium (Trillium flexipes), false rue-anemone (Enemion biternatum), hoary mountain mint (Pycnanthemum incanum), white wood aster (Eurybia divaricata), wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) and wood poppy (Garlic Mustard | Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program, n.d.).

How to control the spread of this?

Because this plant is so difficult to eradicate once it is established, familiarize yourself with the flower, the plant, and the habitat where it grows to find infestations early. Monitor sites regularly to remove plants prior to seed set, learn how to identify these plants, and avoid using them in landscaping.

Hand-pulling individual plants are effective if the entire root is removed. Flowering or seeding plants must be put in a bag and discarded in the garbage. Before leaving the area, carefully and completely wipe off boots, clothing, and equipment to prevent spreading the small seeds to other locations.



By: Shifa Nathani



 


Summary:


Garlic mustard is a biennial non-native plant that spreads by seed. Once established, it can displace native wildflowers like trilliums (Trillium sp) and trout lily (Erythronium americanum). It hinders other plants by interfering with the growth of fungi.



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