Alliaria petiolata (jack-by-the-hedge, sauce-alone, penny hedge, garlic root, poor man’s mustard)

description: biennial

place of origin: Eurasia

urban habitat: common on shady roadsides, river and stream banks, neglected cultivated landscapes, woodland edges, degraded woodlands; has competitive advantage by producing allelopathic chemicals that inhibit the growth of nearby plants.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground; pose threat to some native butterflies who lay their eggs on the plant which is toxic to their larvae and eggs.

history: Alliaria petiolata has a long tradition in Europe as a green consumed in late winter and early spring and was introduced into North America in the 1800’s for medicinal and culinary purposes. It is now found across most of the US and in parts of Canada and is considered a noxious weed in many US states. The leaves are believed to strengthen the digestive system and have other medicinal uses. Internally, the leaves have been used to treat bronchitis, asthma and eczema, and used as an antiseptic to relieve itching caused by insect bites. The leaves are high vitamins A and C content. The stalks of garlic mustard can be used to make a green paper.