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Murderous plant

The invasive garlic mustard plant.Debee Tlumacki for The Boston Globe

Garlic mustard

(Alliaria petiolata)

■  Introduced from Europe in the 1800s, probably for medicinal purposes.

■  Grows from New England south to Virginia, and west to Kansas and Nebraska.

■  Average plant produces 400-500 seeds, which remain viable in the ground for up to five years.

■  Two-year life cycle: Clusters of heart-shaped, notched leaves lie close to the ground the first year; stalks grow 2 to 3½ feet high the following year, topped with clusters of small white flowers, followed by shiny black seed pods.

■  Kills all plants in its vicinity, including those needed by butterflies and moths.

SOURCES: Plant Conservation Alliance; Nature Conservancy