Galium labradoricum (Labrador Bedstraw)

Plant Info
Also known as: Northern Bog Bedstraw
Family:Rubiaceae (Madder)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; fens, swamps, cold bogs, wet meadows, moist thickets
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:4 to 16 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Typically, 3 stalked flowers arise from the leaf axils near the top of the plant. Soon after flowering additional branching stems may arise above the flowers. Flowers are white, about 1/8 inch across, with 4 blunt-tipped petals that are longer than wide. A plant typically has a few to several clusters and is not a prolific bloomer.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are all in whorls of 4, ¼ to ¾ inch long, 1/8 inch wide or less, with a blunt tip and prominent center vein. There are short hairs around the leaf edges and sometimes along the central vein on the underside. Leaves curve or bend downward soon after emerging. Stems are weak but mostly erect and mostly smooth except for a tuft of short hairs around the leaf nodes.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is a pair of smooth round capsules about 1/16 inch in diameter.


Bedstraws can be difficult to ID—some things to look at are the number of leaves in a whorl, number of petals on the flowers, and overall hairiness. Labrador Bedstraw can be distinguished by the downward curving leaves in whorls of 4, and relatively few 4-petaled flowers grouped mostly in 3s. Bluntleaf Bedstraw (Galium obtusum) also has leaves in 4s, but also has some leaves in 5s or 6s which are more irregular in shape, size and spacing, its flowers are more abundant, and the plant is usually sprawling. Three-petal Bedstraw (Galium trifidum) also has leaves in 4s, but has 3-petaled flowers and rough-textured stems.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Washburn Lake in Aitkin County, and in Hubbard County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aiktin County.


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