Identification Tips


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Maybe you need help identifying Garlic Mustard? Some key characteristics are in the sampling protocol, which you can download from the ‘instructions’ page.

Garlic Mustard Populations are easy to spot as a mass of long stems with white flowers on top of long stems. Early in the season (left) flowers are close to the leaves. Late in the season (right) flowers are only at the end of long branching stalks containing maturing seed pods (called siliques). The ideal sampling time is to wait 2-4 weeks after 95% of plants have finished flowering, just before the plants dry out and the siliques begin to split open. But first you want to make sure you are looking at the right plants.

First year plants form lumps of small leaves (rosettes) and usually do not flower, these are the seeds that germinated last year. In the early spring they are small – just a few cm in diameter (left) with a slightly jagged lilly-pad shape. Later in the summer these get bigger, the edges are more jagged but still have a sort of lilly-pad shape (right).

Identification of adult plants is easiest if you can find at least one plant that still has flowers.
Flowers are small (6mm or 1/4 inch in diameter), each with four white petals (left). Leaves on the main stem change from lilly-pad shape near the base of the stem to more spear-like with jagged edges (right) near the flowers.

Keep an eye out for evidence of herbivory and and fungus damage. Herbivore damage may be small holes in the leaves, and fungus damage shows up as a white powdery mildew, as shown below.