Galium tinctorium (Stiff Marsh Bedstraw)

Plant Info
Also known as: Clayton's Bedstraw, Wild Madder, Southern Three-lobed Bedstraw
Genus:Galium
Family:Rubiaceae (Madder)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, sun; swamps, wet woods, wet ditches, along shores
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:10 to 18 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: 3-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Many clusters of usually 3 flowers arising from leaf axils and at the end of branching stems. Flowers are minute, about 1/16 inch across, have 3 white petals with pointed or blunt tips and stalks about ¼ inch long. Rarely a flower has 4 petals. Stamens are white; there are as many stamens as petals.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are whorled in groups of 4, 5 or 6, mostly 5 or 6. Leaflets are irregularly spaced and sized, ½ to 1 inch long and up to about ¼ inch wide, with a blunt or rounded tip. Leaves and stems are rough to the touch. Stems usually sprawl, becoming tangled in each other and in surrounding vegetation.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a pair of tiny, smooth round pods, each containing a seed. The fruit is as large as or smaller than the flowers and ripens to black.

Notes:

There are only 2 species of bedstraw with mostly 3-petaled flowers, the other being Galium trifidum (Three-petaled Bedstraw), which has leaves consistently whorled in 4s. G. obtusum (Blunt-leaf Bedstraw) also has leaves whorled in 4 to 6, but has larger flowers with 4 petals.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.

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