Galium verum (Yellow Bedstraw)

Plant Info
Also known as: Lady's Bedstraw
Family:Rubiaceae (Madder)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
Habitat:sun; roadsides, fields
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:8 to 30 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
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] Many-flowered branching clusters arising from leaf axils in the upper plant. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across, yellow with 4 petals, occasionally 3 or 5, longer than wide and pointed or blunt at the tip, and 4 yellow stamens.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are whorled in groups of 8 to 12, very narrow, ½ to 1½ inches long, up to 1/8 inch wide, variously covered in short hairs, sharply pointed at the tip. Leaf edges may be slightly rolled under and the upper surface is typically glossy. Stems are 4-sided with rounded angles, covered in very short hairs to varying degrees, rarely hairless. The lower plant is rather leafy, the upper can be many-branched.


The only yellow bestraw in Minnesota, this may be an up-and-coming invasive weed. It's been described as “adventive”, which means it is not yet completely naturalized, but the colony we came across on a county highway looked well established to us, creating quite the mono-culture, spreading via rhizomes as well as seed. That particular colony was first documented in 1998 and shows no sign of diminishing. Yellow Bedstraw is present all across the northern half of the US and southern Canada. We shall see how this species fares, but it might be best to eradicate it before it does have a chance to become invasive.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken along Highway 232 about 3 miles east of Palisade, Aitkin County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Amanda - Saint Paul
on: 2015-07-11 12:00:55

I found this in one of my native flower beds, and don't recall purposely introducing it. It has a showy flower and seems to be popular with smaller pollinators.

Posted by: Gary - Carlton County
on: 2018-11-25 11:33:08

A single plant along HWY 61 between Mahtowa and Atkinson.

Posted by: Bill Brown - Grant
on: 2019-06-03 16:17:58

Yellow bedstraw in on the MN DNR's noxious weeds list.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-06-03 18:10:59

Bill Brown, where did you see it listed? I cannot find yellow bedstraw on any invasive or noxious weed list in Minnesota, produced by either the DNR or the Dept of Ag., at either a state or county level. It is not native but I haven't heard that it is particularly problematic anywhere in the state.

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