The last look at invasives, this time garlic mustard, whose basal rosettes of leaves were everywhere at Frances Slocum park yesterday. This is a blight to the eyes as far as I’m concerned, but apparently it is a hot number in some culinary circles: One example.
Make a Pesto
|There is even a cookbook called:
“Garlic Mustard, from Pest to Pesto”
This plant stinks in more than one way. Sure, it stinks when you crush its leaves.
But it also stinks because of its unique two-year lifecycle, which gives it a leg up over native plants.
Seedlings germinate in the spring and form into basal rosettes (pictured) by midsummer. Immature plants will overwinter as rosettes that stay green and continue to photosynthesize during periods when temperatures are above freezing — giving them a head start over native plants.
Along with that, it’s “allelopathic”: It releases chemicals that suppress native plants, especially spring wildflowers. It also inhibits the growth of fungi important to many native plants that use the fungi to obtain nourishment from the soil.
It was introduced to America by European settlers in the early 1800s as a food because of its availability in early spring and its high Vitamin A and C.
Controlling it? Get ready for a war, not a single battle. According to Michigan State University’s Extension Service, “Any control method selected must be repeated for several years until residual seed from previous year’s plants has germinated