Name: Alliaria petiolata
Jack-By-The-Hedge Alliaria petiolata is a common plant that can be found from countryside to the most built up of areas, often poking up through splits in pavements. It has crinkly, kidney shaped green leaves when young becoming more pointy with age. These leaves smell of garlic if lightly rubbed or crushed. As it starts life it appears to carpet the ground and as it ages it becomes quite tall and then produces small white flowers and seed pods, which all have the same garlic scent. As the plant ages further the scent gradually fades, until it is only just noticeable. Jack-by-the-hedge or Garlic Mustard as it is also known, then slowly withers away until the following year.
LEAVES – the leaves make ideal sandwich fillers, and if the leaves are finely chopped and mixed with a little olive oil, they make a refreshing and delicate salad dressing.
FLOWERS – the flower have a punchy flavor and can also be added to salads.
SEED PODS – for me the seed pods are best eaten as a wayside snack, and although have the same flavor as the rest of the plant, they won’t make your breath smell as it would if you had eaten a clove of true garlic!