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Invasive Species

Plants, animals, fungus, etc. from other parts of the world that are brought here can wreak havoc on our ecosystem. Without the natural predators that would keep them in check in their native environment, some non-natives become invasive when their populations spiral out of control. Examples include zebra mussels that were accidentally introduced from Russia that have clogged water intake valves and purple loosestrife, a plant that invades and takes over wetlands.

Garlic Mustard
Garlic mustard is a biennial herb that has invaded much of the Rouge River floodplain and woodlands. It is native to Europe, Asia, Africa, India, China etc. Named after the garlic like odor when crushed, it is also called Poor Man's Mustard as the chopped leaves can be used for seasoning.

Once introduced, garlic mustard persists, spreads and crowds out native plants and it even suppresses their growth. Trillium and wild geranium are two native wildflowers that tend to disappear when garlic mustard invades.

Friends of the Rouge volunteers have been pulling garlic mustard for many years and have helped to reduce its spread. Pulling it by hand is a relatively easy activity for volunteers. Once it has flowered, it cannot be composted as it will produce seeds so the recommended method of disposal is black garbage                                                        bags set in the sun then sent to a landfill.

One innovative way to reduce it is to eat it. Here are some common recipes. In 2012, one novel use was a beer recipe!

Garlic Mustard Pesto, Pasta Salad and Lasagna
Garlic Mustard and Spinach Raviolis with Pesto
Garlic Mustard Pale Ale