Deer eating garlic mustard

Photo by Chris Bosak — A white-tailed deer eats garlic mustard in New England, April 8, 2022.

I’ve come across several articles that state white-tailed deer do not eat garlic mustard because of its bitter taste. Well, here’s proof that they do eat the highly invasive plant. Of course, the plants are young and tender and not as bitter this time of year, which may make it more palatable for the deer.

By the way, garlic mustard is edible for humans, too, and actually quite good in salads or by itself as a snack while wondering the woods. Now is a good time to harvest it while the leaves are young and tender. The flowers, when they arrive, are good to eat as well. To make sure you are eating the right plant, smell it first. As the name suggests, it will smell garlicy. It does have trace amounts of cyanide, as I have read, so don’t overdo it with the garlic mustard. (Many of the common vegetables we eat have trace amounts of cyanide, too, so you’d really have to eat a lot to be negatively impacted.) At least this highly invasive plant has some good uses.

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