Garlic Mustard

Alliaria petiolata

  1. Wildlife
  2. Wildflowers
  3. Garlic Mustard


Garlic Mustard, also commonly known as 'Jack-by-the-hedge', likes shady places, such as the edges of woods and hedgerows. It can grow to over a metre tall and has small white flowers that appear from April to June. It is a biennial plant (taking two years to complete its lifecycle), growing young leaves in its first year, which it keeps over winter, and flowering in the spring of the second.

How to identify

The heart-shaped leaves of Garlic Mustard are smooth and hairless and rather like those of nettles. When crushed, they smell of garlic. Its small white flowers have four petals in the shape of a cross and grow in clusters at the ends of the stems.

Where to find it

Found throughout the UK, very common in England and Wales.


When to find it

  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June

How can people help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many woodland nature reserves sympathetically for a range of spring flowers, from tasty Garlic Mustard to fragrant Ramsons, showy Bluebells to delicate Wood Anemones. A mix of coppicing, scrub-cutting and ride maintenance open up the woodland floor to the sun, helping many flowers and plants to thrive. You can help too: volunteer for your local Wildlife Trust and you could be involved in everything from traditional forest crafts to raising awareness about woodland wildlife.

Species information

Common name
Garlic Mustard
Latin name
Alliaria petiolata
Height: up to 1m
Conservation status