Common names (selected) English: garlic mustard, garlic root, hedge-garlic, jack-by-the-hedge, penny hedge, poor man’s mustard, sauce-alone; Chinese: 葱芥 (mustard); French: alliaire officinale; German: gewöhnliche Knoblauchsrauke; Italian: alliara, erba alliara; Portguese: erva-alheira; Spanish: ajo mostaza, hierba de ajo
Native regions and distribution: Native to southwest Asia, Europe, N. Africa. Widely distributed around the world including across North, South and Central America, Afghanistan, India, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The plant has no known natural enemies in North America, has a broad ecological amplitude, is self-fertile, maintains a seed-bank, and is quite difficult to eradicate once established.
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. A. petiolata is reported to have allelopathic properties that inhibits to 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 / human uses: A. 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. The leaves are believed to strengthen the digestive system and have other medicinal uses. Internally, the leaves have been used to treat bronchitis, asthma, ulcers, 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 and a yellow dye can be obtained from the whole plant.