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Galium boreale

Galium boreale
Galium boreale.  Synonym: Galium septentrionale. (Northern Bedstraw)
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
Above: Navajo Lake Trail, July 31, 2015.
Left: West Mancos Trail, June 27, 2004.

Northern Bedstraw is a common plant with a slender, erect stem, a whorl of four leaves per node, and sprays of tiny flowers.  In mid-summer the flower clusters have an intensely sweet smell.

Bedstraws are often called "Cleavers" because they cleave to clothes with many barbed hairs.

"Gala" is Greek for milk (as in our "Galaxy", the "Milky Way") and refers to Northern Bedstraw’s bad habit of curdling the milk of cattle.  "Septentrionale" is Latin for "northern".  "Boreale" is Greek for "northern".

This plant was first named Galium boreale by Linnaeus in 1753 from Eurasian specimens, but Weber indicates that the Eurasian species differs from our species and thus should be given Roemer and Schultes' 1818 designation of Galium septentrionale. John Kartesz, ultimate authority for all names on this web site, accepts Linnaeus' designation of Galium boreale.

Also see Galium coloradoense.

Galium boreale
Galium boreale.  Synonym: Galium septentrionale. (Northern Bedstraw)
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
Lone Mesa State Park, July 9, 2008.

Galium boreale

Galium triflorum

Galium boreale.  Synonym: Galium septentrionale. (Northern Bedstraw)
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

and

Galium triflorum.  (Bedstraw)
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
West Mancos Trail, June 27, 2004 and June 18, 2010.

G. boreale has four leaves in a whorl; Galium triflorum has six.

 

Galium triflorum

Galium triflorum.  (Fragrant Bedstraw)
Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Montane, subalpine. Woodlands, meadows. Summer.
Bear Creek Trail, June 29, 2010.

Galium triflorum flowers are minute, range from white to green, are borne in threes, widely diverge, and are densely bristly with hooked hairs.

Andre Michaux named and described this circumboreal species in 1803 from a specimen probably collected in Canada.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Galium boreale

Range map for Galium triflorum

Range map for Galium triflorum