Invasive species are plants that aren’t native to the environment in which they are found. These can cause harm to that area’s ecosystem, creating both environmental and economic losses. They are believed to be a major cause of biodiversity loss, after habitat loss itself.
One of the leading invasive plants in Indiana is garlic mustard. This plant was intentionally introduced by people and has spread throughout the state. Deer indirectly help spread garlic mustard by eating native plants and disturbing the area around the mustard plant, allowing it to spread.
Garlic mustard is found in forests and neighborhood lawns alike, and can be identified by a few signs. During the early stage of the plant’s life, it produces a garlic odor, particularly if the leaves have been crushed. The leaves are dark green with scalloped edges and for a small rosette of about 4-8 leaves at ground level. In the plant’s second stage of life, you’ll notice clusters of small, white four-petaled flowers blooming in late spring through summer. These plants then develop slender seed pods that open during the spring and summer months.
Want to know more about invasive plants that you might encounter? Check out the links below for some great resources that can help keep your property free of invasive species!