Originally Posted By: oenophore
I don't recall seeing garlic mustard in any seed catalog. If it's so tasty, might it be missed if eradicated? Or is that highly unlikely?


Quoted from the Catskills Native Nursery Catskills Native Nursery Facebook 2011 post:

BAD PLANT, BAD!
Now is the time when one of the worst invasive plants makes itself prominent, I'm talking about GARLIC MUSTARD (Alliaria petiolata). This rampant weed is an ecological threat to native plants and animals in the forest communities of The Catskills (and other places).

Many native wildflowers that complete their life cycles in the springtime (e.g., spring beauty, wild ginger, bloodroot, Dutchman's breeches, hepatica, toothworts, and trilliums) occur in the same habitat as garlic mustard. Once introduced to an area, garlic mustard outcompetes native plants by aggressively monopolizing light, moisture, nutrients, soil and space. Wildlife species that depend on these early plants for their foliage, pollen, nectar, fruits, seeds and roots, are deprived of these essential food sources when garlic mustard replaces them. Humans are also deprived of the vibrant display of beautiful spring wildflowers. White-tailed deer worsen the problem because they prefer native plants to garlic mustard, thus large deer populations may help to expand its range by removing competing native plants and exposing the soil and seedbed through trampling.

Invasions of garlic mustard are causing the extinction of the woodland toothwort butterflies because the butterfly cannot tell the difference between garlic mustard and wildflowers known as "toothworts" (Dentaria), also in the mustard family, that are the primary food source for the caterpillar stage of this butterfly. Chemicals in garlic mustard appear to be toxic to the eggs of the butterfly, as evidenced by their failure to hatch when laid on garlic mustard plants by the confused mother butterfly.

A single garlic mustard plant can produce thousands of seeds. Herbicides are not very effective against this plant and the best method to control it is pulling it up by hand. Care must be taken to remove the plant with its entire root system because new plants can sprout from root fragments. Do not put the plant in your compost bin because the plant has properties that damage soil and make it difficult for other plants to grow. In a study in Ontario, scientists found that sugar maple and other hardwood seedlings grew much slower and did not germinate as well in soil areas infested with garlic mustard.

Yes, you can eat garlic mustard, but it's a powerfully stinky and your skin and breath will smell like it for 24 hours after ingesting. If you want to eat it, I suggest you pull up the whole plant, harvest the leaves and throw the rest in the garbage. You might be saving a toothwort butterfly or sugar maple seedling in the process.