If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

28 April, 2011

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

The field guides tell you what this plant looks like but they do not tell you what it tastes like. Given its name, it must be quite potent!
This is a plant I have always known as Jack-by -the-Hedge and it almost exclusively grows along hedgerows and woodland edges, mainly on chalk soils so it is not uncommon down here in Dorset.
It comes in to flower in April and can hang on in to July. In May it can line a hedgerow with these white clusters of small, four petalled flowers.
Although easily passed by without a second glance, this plant is a good place to look for early insects. It is an important food plant for several species, especially the Orange Tip butterfly which emerges in to its flight stage to coincide with Garlic Mustard coming in to flower.