Galium porrigens var. porrigens
- Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
- Madder / Coffee Family (Rubiaceae)
- Climbing perennial herb
- Plant stems and leaves rough with tiny, hooked prickles
- Lower stems are woody
- Upper stems create a tangled mass
- Square when young (true of all Galium species)
- Leaves in whorls of 4, red- or purple-tipped
- Inflorescence (flower arrangement) in clusters or singly from the leaf axil (branching point)
- Male and female flowers on separate plants (dioecious)
- Male flowers in clusters
- Female flowers usually solitary
- Tiny, 4-petaled, yellow-green flower
- Ovary inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
- Fruit is a white berry (a usually multi-seeded fruit with a fleshy ovary wall), turning black with age
- Climbs to 5 ft.
- Native to California
- Grows in chaparral, shrublands, and forests
- See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
- Outside California, grows from southern Oregon to northern Baja California, Mexico
- Grows at elevations to 7,000 ft.
Uses (Picking or removing any natural material from public land is illegal)
- Dried plants of some Galium species were used to stuff mattresses, hence the name bedstraw
- Galium (GAY-lee-um) – from the Greek for “milk” because some species, e.g. Galium verum, were used to curdle milk for making cheese (Charter 2015); shepherds would also use matted European Galium clumps to strain curds (Evanoff 2013)
- porrigens (POR-i-jens) – from the Latin porrigo/porriginus, “dandruff” or “scurf,” indicating scaliness, or porrigo/porrectus, “to stretch out” or “put forth”
- Hooked prickles on stems and leaves cling to passing animals (including humans), aiding in seed dispersal
- Galium prickles may have been an inspiration for Velcro (Breckling 2008)
- Sale of Galium seed is prohibited or restricted in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont (Gucker 2005); see notes on goose grass
- Edgewood’s climbing bedstraw is classified as a variety
- Subspecies rank is used to recognize geographic distinctiveness, whereas variety rank is appropriate for variants seen throughout the geographic range of the species; in practice, these two ranks are not distinct
- May be confused with goose grass (G. aparine)
- Climbing bedstraw grows in tangled clumps of long stems, with small leaves in whorls of 4
- Goose grass at Edgewood is single-stemmed, with larger leaves in whorls of 6-8
- Found climbing on shrubs in woodlands, chaparral, and scrub
- See iNaturalist for observations of this plant
- Flowers March – August
Evanoff, K. Bedstraw is a Weed That Bites Back.
Tribune Chronicle, 1 July 2013.
Gucker, C.L. 2005. Galium aparine. Fire Effects Information System. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory.