Mystery plant growing in mulched area

Asked June 3, 2020, 11:00 AM EDT

Hello, I’d appreciate any help you can provide in identifying the plant shown in the attached photos. It’s growing in an area that’s been covered with mulch, and I’m sure I didn’t plant it. I tried iNaturalist, which said it was probably garlic mustard, but it’s not: it doesn’t have a central stem, the leaves are much bigger (see photo for comparison with my hand), and it doesn’t smell garlicky. The stems are a bit purplish, similar to Packera aurea, but it’s not that, either: the leaves are thinner and flatter on the edges, the green isn’t as bright, and the veins have a different pattern. The leaves all sprout from the center. So, any idea whether I have a noxious invasive or a keeper?

Montgomery County Maryland

1 Response

We think this is garlic mustard. There is quite a bit of variation in garlic mustard leaves. This looks like a first year plant. Growing conditions also contribute to variations in appearance (large leaves, etc. )

You can always let it grow and see what it does. If it flowers, you can send us more photos. Do not let it produce seeds until it's identified, and you should be safe.

Ellen