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Hedge Garlic

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer Winter Winter

The plant contains a natural antifreeze so the over wintering rosette can be found and eaten even in the depths of winter.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Hedge Garlic, Jack by the Hedge, Garlic Mustard, Poor Mans Mustard, Penny Hedge
Scientific Name Alliaria petiolata
Season Start Jan
Season End Dec
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

First Year Leaves

Hedge garlic is biennial and in its first years growth the leaves grow in a small, ground level rosette with broad heart shaped leaves.

Second Year Leaves

In its second year a spike grows from the rosette and the leaves are more arrow head shaped with serrated edges.


Groups of tiny, white, four petalled flowers grow from the top of the flower spike.

Flower Stem

In its second years growth a flower stem grows vertically, up to one and a half metres, from the leaf rosette with flowers on the top leaving behind seed pods.

Seed Pods

The seed pods are thin, green, erect and start to emerge from the middle of the flowers.


Hedgerows, woodland, shady scrub and path edges.

Possible Confusion

Once the flowers are out it is difficult to confuse with much else, the smell helps.


Mild garlic smell when crushed.


Mildly garlicy with a hint of mustard, this plant divides us as one of us thinks it has a horrible after taste the other enjoys this, it also splits opinion when we take out foraging groups but with the use of a tasty dressing, nobody seems to mind its inclusion in salads.




The young first years leaves or from the top of the plant in its second year are best and along with the flowers and flower buds help make an attractive and tasty salad.

The seeds can be used as mustard.

The roots at the end of the second years growth taste like mild horseradish.

Medicinal Uses

Said be used as a tonic to help asthma, rheumatism and gout it also has diuretic properties.


13 comments for Hedge Garlic

  1. Mrs Dee Needs says:

    Congratulations on your new website.
    Very comprehensive information
    and well set out and so interesting
    Thank you

  2. Elaine McDonald says:

    Thank you fabulous website x

  3. Dawn Braren says:

    Can I send you a picture to determine if this Is in fact Garlic mustard plants growing every where in my yard please

    1. Poppy Ives says:

      please do, you can email us from the contact us page.

  4. Jaci says:

    Great info thanks. Just had sone Jack by the hedge as garnish in local cafe so wanted to find out more .

  5. Sheila McCurdy says:

    Very informative thank you.I have just started a new hobby,realising my phone camera has a built in identification of plants trees animals etc. Yesterday I had my first taste of garlic mustard,I loved it then got worried I might die,obviously i didn’t I have had my second helping today both were in salads containing lots of different tastes along with French dressing. I eat salad most days if I was to eat the garlic mustard everyday would it be bad for me.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Eating too much of anything can be bad for you but a salad with some leaves of garlic mustard every day will do you no harm.

  6. Arca Stone says:

    great info and perfectly laid out. Your site answered my questions pretty much in the order I wanted to know them. Turns out, there’s insane amounts of this stuff growing all around me, even in my own yard! Good to add even more variety to my foraging and diet! Tasty.

  7. Pearson says:

    I live in America but I found some here thanks for the information

  8. Clive Barton says:

    Thank you for explaining Garlic Mustard in an easy to understand way.

    I had seen the plant in the wild and noticed for the first time some in our garden last year. It was probably there before but I had not taken any interest. This year there has been a lot of what I thought was Garlic Mustard because of the smell but not as high as last year and it looked different.

    I was puzzled by pictures I saw in various books that did not seem to match but your great visuals and video have resolved my confusion by explaining the difference between first and second year leaf shapes.

    Thanks and keep smiling

  9. Paul Carpenter says:

    Thank you for a wonderfully informative website. I am now seeing swathes of Garlic Mustard seedlings on the woodland floor where I have a number of wildlife cameras situated near Hereford. A wonderful tasty plant that along with nettle is one of my favourites. I notice that you have a 01981 number that is local… Golden Valley? ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Just outside of Hereford.

    2. Jadwiga Kindermann says:

      I discovered Hedge Garlic last year after talking with an elderly lady I visit who is a herbalist. I’ve never looked back; I pick bag fulls from the hedges around the playground here in Kington. Foraging is the new garlic! ๐Ÿ™‚

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