Galium boreale – Historically, this plant was boiled and used as a wash to remove freckles!
- Other Names
- in Latin: Galium boreale
- in English: northern bedstraw
- in French: gaillet, gaillet boreale
Madder Family (Rubiaceae)
Northern bedstraw, a common herb, stands 20 cm to 60 cm tall, has square stems, and grows in clumps.
- Leaves: Leaves are bright green, 2.5 cm to 5 cm long, and are arranged in whorls of 4, with each whorl encircling the stem (all leaves in the whorl are attached at the same height around the stem).
- Flowers: Fragrant flowers are white, 3 mm wide, have 4 petals and are shaped like a cross.
- Fruit: Pairs of tiny, round nutlets covered with short, white hairs.
Widespread throughout Alberta.
Northern bedstraw grows in forests, along roadsides, and in moist prairies.
How to Observe
- If the plants are very abundant, mark a plot about one metre by one metre in size.
- Record these dates:
- First bloom: When the first flowers are open in the patch observed.
- Mid bloom: When approximately half (50%) of the flowers on the plants under observation are open.
When does this plant bloom?
Flowers in late June.
Did you know …
Cut flowers were heated and applied to relieve sore feet and muscles. A red dye made from the roots was used to colour porcupine quills for embroidery.