En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Identification of plant resembling garlic mustard, but with purple flowers

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - May 18, 2012

From: New Era, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Plant Identification
Title: Identification of plant resembling garlic mustard, but with purple flowers
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

While searching for the invasive garlic mustard I am finding a very similar looking plant (triangular, alternate, toothed leaves; four petals, same habitat of shaded roadside and interior woods) except this plant has purple flowers and does not have a garlic odor when crushed. It is colonial, biennial, and exhibits a "C" curved root when pulled. It seems to be very abundant and forming colonies in areas of trilliums and Jack-in-the-Pulpits. Any advice as to the identity of this plant and whether or not it should be treated as invasive? Thank you.

ANSWER:

A likely possibility for the plant you are seeing that resembles Alliaria petiolata (Garlic mustard) is Hesperis matronalis (Dame's rocket) and it is considered invasive in some areas.  Here are more photos and information from the Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide and from Missouri Botanical Garden.

You can see some native plants that are poosibilities by doing a search in our Native Plant Database.  Choose "Brassicaceae" from the list of Families.   When the list comes up use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to choose "Michigan" from the Select State or Province option and then "Pink", "Purple" and "Violet" from Bloom Color.

If neither Hesperis matronalis (Dame's rocket) nor any of the native plants in our Native Plant Database is the plant you have seen, please visit our Plant Identification page to find links to plant identification forums that accept photos for identification.

 

More Plant Identification Questions

What trees in Austin right now have yellow leaves that are falling?
December 08, 2008 - Right now there are trees in Austin that have bright yellow leaves. Do you know what trees native to Austin turn a very bright yellow in November? It looks like now the leaves are starting to fall off...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 08, 2010 - Found in a cedar swamp near Wolverine Michigan. Large dinner plate size flat green leaf on a mottled green and brown fleshy stem of about 8 or 10 inches. I first thought it was a tri-leaf plant but it...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
July 03, 2009 - I have a tree growing in my backyard that has started to produce bean shaped blue berries the interior of the berry is red and the leaf shape is long and triangle and the stems the berries grow on are...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
June 11, 2008 - I have a green plant given in memory of my mom, and I have no idea what it is. It has rounded smooth leaves, green on front, purple on back. Inside each leaf is the impression of another leaf then an...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification
August 07, 2008 - I have discovered a vine growing in my boysenberry patch, perhaps spread by birds, but I can't find it in any books. It has 5 smooth leaves with burgundy, pinkish racemes, much like snap dragon flow...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center