Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Garlic Mustard (Jack-by-the-Hedge) (Alliaria petiolata) (Previously: Alliaria officinalis): Images

Date Location Notes Images
May 14, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire Garlic mustard is a biennial plant with toothed, kidney-shaped leaves low to the ground the first year. The teeth on the leaves of the first year plant tend to be more rounded while the teeth on the leaves of the second year plant are more jagged. When the plant bolts in the Spring of the second year, there are alternate, toothed, kidney-shaped leaves growing up the stalk. The leaves near the top of the stalk tend to be more triangular. The white flowers have 4 moderately-thin petals.

There are five sets of pictures to the right and an extra one on the bottom.
1st Set: First year garlic mustard plants growing low to the ground next to second year plants and some celandine.
2nd Set: First year garlic mustard. Notice the irregular branched veins on the toothed, kidney-shaped leaves. Also, notice how the teeth on the leaves are somewhat rounded.
3rd Set: Small clumbs of 4-petaled flowers at the top of the stalk.
4th Set: Leaves alternate up the stalk.
5th Set: Notice that in the second year plant, the lower leaves are kidney-shaped and the upper leaves tend to be more triangular. Also, notice that the teeth in the second year plant tend to be more jagged.
6th Set: Some of the leaves can develop a purple tinge.

The leaves have a strong garlic smell when thoroughly crushed. The root tastes like horseradish.

Look-alikes:
Violet: Kidney-shaped leaves look like first year garlic mustard. Violet leaves veins are not as irregular. There are many more and regularly-spaced rounded teeth on the violet leaves. Here is an image of a violet leaf.
Date Location Notes Images
May 30, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire Garlic Mustard second year plants. Notice how the white flowers and seeds have already fallen off the flower stems. (Compare to the pictures above from 5/14/2010.) But the flower stems are still on the plant. Crushed leaves still smell like garlic.
Date Location Notes Images
April 16, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire Early season Garlic Mustard leaves. This early in the season, there is not quite as strong a garlic smell when crushing the leaves. Notice the irregular rounded toothed margins. Ground Ivy leaves (Glechoma hederacea) have maybe 10 or so rounded, regular teeth and Garlic Mustard has at least 20 or more irregular rounded teeth in the young leaves.
Date Location Notes Images
April 30, 2011 Southeastern, New Hampshire Leaves starting to mature.
Date Location Notes Images
April 9, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire
Date Location Notes Images
May 3, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire
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May 7, 2014 Southeastern, Connecticut
Date Location Notes Images
June 7, 2014 Central, Connecticut