Galium triflorum Michx.

fragrant bedstraw

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Where native and non-native distributions co-occur in a county, only the native distribution is shown.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Fragrant bedstraw gets its name from the vanilla scent of the dried leaves and the fact that it was formerly used to stuff mattresses. Fragrant bedstraw was used by native Americans mashed and applied to the scalp to stimulate hair growth.

Habitat

Forests, swamps, talus and rocky slopes, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Flower petal color
  • green to brown
  • white
Leaf type
the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
Flower symmetry
there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
Number of sepals, petals or tepals
there are four petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
Fusion of petals
the petals are fused into a corolla tube
Stamen number
4
Fruit type (general)
the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
Fruit length
1.5–2 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Bulbils
    the plant does not appear to have bulbils
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
  • Flowers
    Calyx growth after flowering
    NA
    Calyx symmetry
    NA
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused to one another
    Cleistogamous flowers
    there are no cleistogamous flowers on the plan
    Corolla palate
    no
    Corona lobe length
    0 mm
    Epicalyx
    the flower does not have an epicalyx
    Epicalyx number of parts
    0
    Filament surface
    the filament is smooth, with no hairs or scales
    Flower description
    the flower has an inferior ovary, with or without a hypanthium
    Flower diameter
    1.5–3.5 mm
    Flower number
    2–3
    Flower petal color
    • green to brown
    • white
    Flower reproductive parts
    the flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Flowers sunken into stem
    no
    Fused stamen clusters
    NA
    Fusion of petals
    the petals are fused into a corolla tube
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Horns in hoods (Asclepias)
    NA
    Hypanthium
    the flower does not have a hypanthium
    Inflorescence one-sided
    the flowers are arrayed in a spiral around the inflorescence axis or branches, or occur singly, or in several ranks
    Inner tepals (Rumex)
    NA
    Interior flower disk
    the flower has an interior disc
    Length of flower stalk
    1.5–25 mm
    Length of peduncle
    15–25 mm
    Marks on petals
    there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of branches in umbel
    0
    Number of carpels
    2
    Number of sepals, petals or tepals
    there are four petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    2
    Ovary position
    the ovary is below the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Perianth shape
    the perianth is rotate (platter-shaped, the corolla flattened, circular, with nearly horizontally spreading lobes)
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes only one cycle of petals or sepals
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal folding in bud
    the petals in bud meet exactly at the margins without overlapping (valvate)
    Petal folds or pleats
    the petals of the flower do not have folds or plaits
    Petal hairs (Viola)
    NA
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal length relative to sepals
    NA
    Petal number
    4
    Petal shape
    the petal outline is lanceolate (lance-shaped; narrow, gradually tapering from the base to the tip)
    Petal tips (Cuscuta)
    NA
    Raceme attachment (Veronica)
    NA
    Reproductive system
    all the flowers have both carpels and stamens (synoecious)
    Sepal and petal color
    NA
    Sepal appearance
    NA
    Sepal appendages (Oenothera)
    NA
    Sepal auricles
    NA
    Sepal cilia
    NA
    Sepal color
    NA
    Sepal features
    NA
    Sepal length
    0 mm
    Sepal number
    0
    Sepal orientation
    NA
    Sepal relative length
    NA
    Sepal shape
    NA
    Sepal texture
    NA
    Sepal tip shape
    NA
    Sepal uniformity
    NA
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    NA
    Stamen number
    4
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not attached to one another
    Umbel flower reproductive parts
    NA
    Upper lip of bilabiate corolla
    NA
  • Fruits or seeds
    Achene relative orientation
    NA
    Achene shape
    NA
    Achene surface (Polygonum)
    NA
    Achene type
    NA
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule color (Viola)
    NA
    Capsule ribs
    NA
    Capsule splitting
    NA
    Fruit (pyxis) dehiscence
    NA
    Fruit beak length
    0 mm
    Fruit features (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Fruit length
    1.5–2 mm
    Fruit locules
    two
    Fruit shape
    the fruit is ovoid (egg-shaped)
    Fruit stalk orientation
    the fruits point upward or spread or curve outward
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry but does not split open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a schizocarp (when dry it splits into sections, each holding one or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    2–6 mm
    Hair type on fruit
    the hairs on the fruits are simple (not branched), don’t have glands, and are not woolly
    Hairs on fruit
    the fruits have hairs on them
    Legumes (Fabaceae)
    NA
    Mericarp length
    1.5–2 mm
    Mericarp segment shape (Desmodium)
    NA
    Other markings on berry
    NA
    Placenta arrangement
    the plant has axile placentation, in which the ovules are attached where the septa of a compound ovary are united, usually on the central axis, or to the septa themselves
    Rows of seeds in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    Schizocarpic fruit compression
    the fruit is not flattened
    Schizocarpic fruit segments
    2
    Seed number
    2
    Septum in fruit (Brassicaceae)
    NA
    prickles on fruits
    the fruits do not have thorn-like defensive structures
  • Glands or sap
    Glands on leaf blade
    the leaf blades do not have glandular dots or scales
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
    Sap color
    the sap is clear
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant is an herb (it has self-supporting stems)
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Parasitism
    the plant is not parasitic
    Plant color
    the leaves or young stems of the plant are green
    Plants darken when dry
    no
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
  • Leaves
    Bracteole edges
    NA
    Bracteole length
    0 mm
    Bracteole number (Apiaceae)
    0
    Bracteole shape
    NA
    Bracteoles
    there are no bracteoles on the plant
    Bracts in plantain (Plantago)
    NA
    Final leaf segment length (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Final leaf segment length to width ratio (compound lvs only)
    0
    Final leaf segment width (compound lvs only)
    0 mm
    Floral bracts
    the flower has one or more bracts associated with it
    Flower bract length
    4–5 mm
    Hairs on underside of leaf
    the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    Hairs on upper side of leaf
    • the upper side of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or it has very few hairs
    Hooked hairs on underside of leaf
    no
    Inflated hairs on leaf
    the leaf blade does not have inflated hairs on it
    Leaf arrangement
    whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade base symmetry
    the leaf blade base is symmetrical
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf blade flatness
    the leaf is flat (planar) at the edges
    Leaf blade hairs
    the leaf blade has simple hairs with no glands, and not tangled or wooly
    Leaf blade length
    12–45 mm
    Leaf blade primary vein pattern
    the secondary veins branch off at intervals from the primary vein
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is lanceolate (lance-shaped; widest below the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblong (rectangular but with rounded ends)
    • the leaf blade is ovate (widest below the middle and broadly tapering at both ends)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade texture
    the leaf blade is scarious (thin and dry like paper) or membranaceous (thin and flexible and almost translucent like a membrane)
    Leaf blade vein pattern
    the major veins of the leaf blade branch, but do not rejoin
    Leaf blade veins
    the leaf blade has one main vein running from the base towards the tip (it may or may not have secondary veins)
    Leaf blade width
    4–14 mm
    Leaf duration
    the leaves drop off in winter (or they whither but persist on the plant)
    Leaf form
    the leaves are green, with an expanded blade and a leaf-like texture
    Leaf hair orientation
    the hairs are curved or lying flat, mostly pointed toward the base of the leaf
    Leaf shiny
    the upper side of the leaf is dull or slightly shiny
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf stalk attachment to leaf
    • NA
    • the petiole attaches at the basal margin of the leaf blade
    Leaf stalk base
    • NA
    • the petiole base is narrow where it attaches to the stem
    Leaf teeth and lobes
    the edge of the leaf blade is entire (has no teeth or lobes)
    Leaf tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is obtuse (bluntly pointed)
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaf types
    There is a gradual change in appearance of the leaves from the base (or near the base) of the plant to those from further up on the stem, with leaves progressively changing as one moves higher on the stem (often becoming shorter, or less toothed/lobed, and/or with shorter petioles).
    Leaf variation
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaflet number
    0
    Leaflet petiolules
    NA
    Leaves per node
    there are six leaves per node along the stem
    Pinnately compound leaf type
    NA
    Specific leaf type
    the leaves are simple (lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Stipels
    NA
    Stipule features
    NA
    Stipules
    • the plant has stipules
    • there are no stipules on the plant
    Teeth per side of leaf blade
    0
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of wetlands
    • forests
    • swamps
    • talus or rocky slopes
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant does not have much of a smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branched tendrils
    NA
    Direction of stem hairs
    the hairs point downwards, or they bend outwards and then downwards
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is roughly square
    Hair between stem nodes
    the stem has hairs between the nodes
    Hairs between stem nodes
    the hairs on the stem are plain, without glands or branches, and not tangled
    Hooked hairs on stem between nodes
    no
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Plant height
    30–80 cm
    Stem bloom
    there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem hair distribution
    the hairs on the stem are mainly found on the edges or angles of the stem
    Stem nodes swollen
    the stem is not swollen at the nodes
    Stem orientation
    the stems trail at the base, but may turn upwards at the tips
    Stem roughness between nodes
    the stem feels rough due to hairs or prickles
    Tendril origin
    NA
    Tendrils
    the plant does not have tendrils
    Wings on stem
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but occasionally in wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACU)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Galium aparine:
leaves numbering usually 8 per node and each half of the fruit usually 2-4 mm in diameter (vs. G. triflorum, with leaves numbering usually 6 per node and each half of the fruit 1.5-2 mm in diameter). Galium asprellum: fruit without hairs and leaf blades 8-20 × 2-6 mm (vs. G. triflorum, with fruit covered with hairs that are hooked at the tip and leaf blades 15-85 × 4-13 mm).

Synonyms

  • Galium triflorum var. asprelliforme Fern.

Family

Rubiaceae

Genus

Galium

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

21.  Galium triflorum Michx. N

fragrant bedstraw. Galium triflorum Michx. var. asprelliforme Fern. • CT, MA, ME, NH, RI, VT. 
Dry-mesic to wet-mesic forests, swamps, rocky slopes.