Garlic Mustard
Garlic Mustard

Well, here’s another plant we notice a lot now it has come into flower. Jack-By-The-Hedge or Garlic Mustard. There was certainly no shortage of Garlic flavouring around in the olden days. There’s no mention of bears digging this one up though.

Mrs Grieve (in the 1931 edition of A Modern Herbal) mentions that it was quite a useful plant medicinally – it can, for instance, be used to work up a sweat without all that exercise. She also says it is a ‘deobstruent’ for which Google suggests ‘aperient’  looking up aperient gave me a list of things such as “Constipation in Kids”, etc. – so I looked no further. She also mentions that eaten as a salad “. . . it warms the stomach and strengthens the digestive faculties”. Herbs that strengthened your ‘faculties’ were very common in the early 1900s.

It only flowers every second year and you can check to be sure it’s the right plant by – guess what? Crushing the leaves to see if they smell of garlic.

We’ll try it next time we see some.

PS The Wild Garlic smells of garlic – we tried crushing a leaf, it’s not a very strong aroma – but quite definite.

Edit: We tried some of the Garlic Mustard – and it is really tasty and tangy!


Wild Garlic
Wild Garlic

We found this sort of lilly thing growing in all sorts of places – mostly under hedges and in the woods. So we looked it up on Google and decided it was Ramsoms. Ramsoms turn out to be a most interesting plant (if, indeed this is what our plant is) it is also known as Wild Garlic but is actually a relative of Chives. As there are other plants around that look like this – but are poisonous (Arum Lilies for instance) we need to carry out a simple test – see if it smells of garlic. We’ve not done that yet but it is now high on our list of priorities.

Ramsoms have another name too, Bear Garlic. Indeed its latin name is Allium Ursinum. Wikipedia says this is because Brown Bears are very fond of the bulbs and have a habit of going round digging them up.

Of course, they could be just digging a trap for a heffalump.