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Invasive Species in Amherst State Park

Hesperis matronalis - Dame’s Rocket

Infestation Photo

Alliaria periolata - Garlic Mustard

Infestation Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

Close up Photo

Close up Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

    Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolate) is an invasive culinary biennial herb in the mustard family, that originated from Europe and Asia. Kidney shaped green leaves with white flower clusters which bloom from April through June. Garlic Mustard was first recorded in the United States in 1868 in New York. It smells like garlic when crushed.

    Garlic mustard form dense stands that choke out native plants the understory by controlling light, water, and nutrient resources. In the Northeastern United States, there are no fungi or insects that feed on this plant and has caused it to dominate the undergrowth of forests.  It greatly reduces the biodiversity of many species.

    Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matrolalis) is a biennial herb from the mustard family native to Eurasia. It was introduced to North America in the 1600’s to become invasive in moist wooded areas and open areas. Garden centers may sell Dame’s rocket as a short lived perennial and in “Wildflower” seed mixes. An erect plant with fragrant, purple, pink, or white flowers which bloom from April through August. The plant’s ability to bloom for many months with abundant seeds has caused its widespread distribution.  

    Dame’s rocket lacks natural predators and diseases in North America and so it competes with native species for water, light and nutrients, often forming dense monocultures. It competes with native plants at the edges of woodlands, in woodland openings, and in semi-open forests. This competition for resources inhibits tree seedling germination and growth.

Infestation Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015

Close up Photo

photo by  WNY PRISM

June 5, 2015