Boxborough Invasive Focus: Garlic Mustard


This is the first in a series of posts concerning invasive plant control in town.

I spotted garlic mustard at the side of the road on the Patch Hill parcel. It’s one of those plants that you’ll begin to see everywhere once you recognize it. It’s native to many parts of the world, but its introduction to North America has caused reductions in biodiversity as it crowds out other plants both because it does not have a natural predator, and because it produces a toxin limiting other plant growth.

Thankfully, it’s an easy one to control – the plant pulls up easily with the small tap root, though repeated observation of the site will be needed as seeds from prior years will sprout.


Equally, pulled plants that are flowering can still drop seeds, so it’s best to bag it and throw it out.

If you need another reason to pull it, you can also eat it – the leaves (especially the younger ones) can be used in salads or as a pesto – not surprisingly it has a mild garlic/mustard flavor. As with any wild plant, ensure you are confident that you have identified the plant correctly. If you see garlic mustard on trails in town, please don’t hesitate to pull it up.