Hedge Garlic - Alliaria Petilolata

Identify Garlic Mustard

HEDGE GARLIC (Alliaria Petiolata)

Hedge Garlic - Alliaria Petilolata

How to Identify Hedge Garlic(Edible)


Common names
Hedge garlic, Jack-by-the-Hedge, Garlic Mustard, Poor Man’s Mustard, Garlic Root, Penny Hedge, Sauce Alone

Botanical name 
Alliaria petiolata

Meaning of botanical name
The first part of the name, Alliaria, means “resembling an Allium”, which is reference to its garlic-like scent. Petiolata means “with a leaf stalk”

Known hazardsPeople who suffer from hypothyroidism are advised against excessive consumption of members of the brassica family. Hedge garlic is a brassica

Could be confused with
Honesty (Lunaria annua), before either are in flower, but this is also edible. After flowering, Honesty has purple flowers, whereas Hedge Garlic has white flowers

Food Plant ofVery little – see miscellaneous

Range and distribution
Native to Europe, Africa and Asia. Listed as an invasive species in North America

Habitat:Hedgerows, woodland edges, around fence posts, gateways, in fact anywhere where it can get a bit of support

Physical characteristics
Hedge garlic is a biennial plant. In its first year, it has kidney-shaped toothed leaves. In its second year, the leaves become more heart-shaped, but remain toothed. It also throws up a flower stalk with a cluster of white four-petalled flowers at the top.

The leaves have a mild garlic odour when they are crushed.

Folklore, tall tales, and not so folklore:
When it comes to the common names of plants, “Jack” is often used as a term of reference for the Devil – Devil-by-the-Hedge.

Edible use
The leaves and flowers can be used raw in salads, or lightly steamed. Some people get a strong unpleasant taste on chewing the leaves, however, a good dressing usually solves that.

After hedge Garlic has flowered, the seeds can be used as a mustard-flavoured spice or seasoning. They can also be used to make a rustic wholegrain mustard

HerbalHedge garlic contains mustard oil glycosides and has been used in the treatment of asthma, eczema, and skin irritation. Chewing the leaves is believed to relieve mouth ulcers. If you have a medical complaint, please visit your doctor.

MiscellaneousThis plant has very few natural consumers. Two species of weevil are being considered as a possible control method in the USA, where it is classed as a non-native invasive. Hedge garlic is believed to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, meaning it is resistant to biological attack in the soil.

The leaves contain a small amount of cyanide, not enough to damage a human, but enough to kill insects that may attempt to eat it

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