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Learn More About the Troublesome Invasive Terrestrial Garlic Mustard Plant Making it’s Home in Duluth

garlic mustard plant
Wikimedia Commons

When Spring hits in the Northland we’re always excited to see it “green up”.  Buds on the trees and  green grass (sprinkled with dandlelions), but there is a plant that is causing some havoc in the area that you should be aware of called Garlic Mustard.

Typically, garlic mustard flowers arrive in late April to early May, but with the uncharacteristically cool spring, Duluth’s patches have held off until recently  It’s is a weed and is among the most noxious in Minnesota, forming a dense carpet that can crowd out tree seedlings and native wildflowers. It is particularly troublesome because it infests shaded areas, which is unusual for invasive plant species.

It has small, round, scalloped-edged evergreen leaves in its first year.  then, the second-year plants have larger, arrow-shaped leaves. The second-year plants also bolt to heights of up to two feet and produce a small, white, four-petaled flower.  You may also notice that the leaves and stems will smell like onion or garlic when crushed.

Currently, there are only two known patches of garlic mustard, both located in east hillside neighborhoods, but there could be more. That’s why they are trying to educate the community and raise awareness.  Getting rid of even a small patch of Garlic Mustard could take years.

Community members are invited to join Duluth Parks and Recreation on the following two Thursdays to learn more about identification and control methods for garlic mustard.

Thursday, June 6, 5:30-6:30pm, Meet at the corner of 11th Avenue East and East 6th

Thursday, June 13, 5:30-6:30pm, Meet at the corner of North 7th Ave East and Kelly Street

For more information about these events, please contact Cheryl Skafte, Volunteer Coordinator, City of Duluth, at or 218-393-9879.

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