Species of the Week: Garlic Mustard
Welcome to my blog’s new feature: Species of the Week!
Here I will discuss a particular local (Ontario) species that I find and photograph poorly with my cellphone. I’m hoping to improve my ability to identify plant and animal species, and be able to pass that knowledge to my kids.
Today: Garlic Mustard
In the late 1800s, settlers brought garlic mustard from Europe as an herb for cooking. Little did they know that it would turn into one of North America’s worst invasive species. It dominates forest ecosystems and outcompetes anything in its path. (Source: Ontario Invasive Plant Council)
Since I learned to identify this aggressive “herb,” I’m seeing it everywhere, from roadsides, to woodlands to yards. I find the easiest way to identify it is by the clusters of white flowers with four petals. It grows in tall stalks with jagged triangular leaves. “Garlic mustard pulls” have been organized by a number of environmental organizations. It could be fun to participate as a family, as children could easily be taught to identify the plant.
But, to look on the bright side, garlic mustard is edible, plentiful, and free. Maybe if we all start eating enough garlic mustard, we can reduce the problem! (OK…… we’d have to eat a LOT!)
Here is a link to a recipe.
Disclaimer: I haven’t tried it yet, but if you do, let me know how it turns out! (Or if you try any other recipes!)
Garlic Mustard Pesto
Posted on June 4, 2013, in Species of the week and tagged Children, edible plants, foraging, gardening, garlic mustard, herbs, invasive species, nature, plants, taxonomy, weeds. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.