Galium boreale (Northern Bedstraw)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; open woods, woodland edges, fields, prairies|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Numerous flowers in branching clusters at the top of the stem and arising from the leaf axils in the upper plant. Individual flowers are 1/8 to ¼ inch across with 4 white petals pointed at the tip and 4 creamy-tipped stamens.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are whorled in groups of 4. Each leaf is ¾ to 2 inches long and about ¼ inch wide, toothless, gradually tapering to a blunt point at the tip. There are 3 distinct parallel veins, and fine hairs along the leaf edges. Stems are erect, smooth and square, branching in the upper plant.
There are several species of bedstraw growing in Minnesota, all with tiny white flowers (most with 4 petals) and whorled leaves. Distinguishing features are the number of leaves in a whorl, overall hairiness, and number and arrangement of flowers in a cluster. Northern Bedstraw is most easily identified by the whorls of 4 long, narrow leaves and its smooth stem. Northern Bedstraw is also the largest of the Galiums in Minnesota, the most common throughout the state, and the most prolific bloomer.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake and Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Parks, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?