We've been seeing some pretty fantastic weather over the last few weeks, and this weekend is also looking spectacular for getting out and exploring the land of 10,000 lakes. If you happen to be strolling through your backyard, and you spot a plant with tiny white flowers growing from it, you should remove it immediately as it's an invasive plant species. I'm talking about Garlic mustard plants here in Minnesota.

Image Credit Dave Hanson via Minnesota Department of Transportation
Image Credit Dave Hanson via Minnesota Department of Transportation

Garlic mustard plants are designated invasive species, and by law need to be removed when you find them growing in our yards and fields. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:

"Garlic mustard forms thick mats that shade and outcompete native plant species and it can impede natural forest regeneration by producing chemicals that reduce growth of other plants. It can be spread by transporting mud that contains its tiny seeds, so it is often found along highly trafficked trails."

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This plant can be tough to spot as it changes how it looks between years 1 and 2, so you might not notice it during year 1. The Minnesota DNR describes the plant's appearance as being two-fold. 

"First year plants are a low-growing circular arrangement of kidney-shaped leaves with scalloped edges, called rosettes. In its second year, plants shoot up a 12-36 inch stem that will develop small white flowers at the top. If crushed, the plant smells like garlic."

Now is the time to be on the lookout for these invasive species of plants as they are flowering, if they are at least 2 years old, making them easy to spot. Here's what the Minnesota DNR says to look for with the plant's flowers.

Plants flower from May through June. Flowers are white, small, and numerous, with four separate petals. Second-year plants can have one or multiple flowering stems. 

You can learn more about Garlic mustard and other invasive species that plague Minnesota by heading here.

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