Ontario Weeds: Smooth bedstraw

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Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds, Order this publication

Table of Contents

  1. Name
  2. Other Names
  3. Family
  4. General Description
  5. Stems and Roots
  6. Flowers and Fruit
  7. Habitat
  8. Similar Species
  9. Related Links

Name: Smooth bedstraw, Galium mollugo L.,

Other Names: gaillet mollugine, gaillet

Family: Madder Family (Rubiaceae)

General Description: Perennial, reproducing by seed and by spreading underground rhizomes.

Photos and Pictures

Smooth bedstraw (A - mass of flowering stems; B - portion of a stem showing whorls of leaves and tiny 4-petalled flowers).

Smooth bedstraw (A - mass of flowering stems; B - portion of a stem showing whorls of leaves and tiny 4-petalled flowers).

Smooth bedstraw. A. Stem of plant.
Smooth bedstraw. A. Stem of plant.

B. Base of stem rooting at nodes.
B. Base of stem rooting at nodes.

Stems & Roots: Stems slender, soft, smooth, much-branched, at first erect but soon matted or spreading over nearby vegetation; leaves in whorls of 6 to 8 per node, narrowly oblong or wider towards the end, 1-3cm (2/5-1¼in.) long, bright green.

Flowers & Fruit: Flowers in loosely branching clusters at the ends of stems and on short branches throughout the plant; each flower with 4 tiny white petals, 2-4mm (1/12-1/6in.) across, sitting on top of a small spherical ovary which develops into the fruit ("seed"). Flowers from June to August.

Habitat: Smooth bedstraw occurs throughout Ontario in pastures, meadows, river flats, roadsides and occasionally in lawns and gardens. There are several other kinds of perennial white-flowered bedstraws in Ontario but they are rarely considered weedy.

Similar Species: It is distinguished by having usually 6 or 8 leaves per node on the smooth stems and branches.

Related Links

... on general Weed topics
... on weed identification, order OMAFRA Publication 505: Ontario Weeds
... on weed control, order OMAFRA Publication 75: Guide To Weed Control

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 01 June 2000
Last Reviewed: 01 November 2003