Galium trifidum L.
Family: Rubiaceae
Three-Petal Bedstraw,  more...
Galium trifidum image
Paul Rothrock  
Plant: Variable perennial (rarely annual) herb; 4-6 at nodes, rounded at apices, not bristle-tipped Leaves: 4-6 at nodes, rounded at apices, not bristle-tipped Flowers: perfect; corolla rotate, 3-4-lobed Fruit: FRUITS of 2 hard, spherical, smooth, brown or black mericaps REFERENCES: Dempster, Lauramay T. 1995. Rubiaceae. J. Ariz. - Nev. Sci. 29(l): 29.
Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 10 - 40 cm tall Leaves: mostly in whorls of four, a few in whorls of five or six, 5 mm - 2 cm long, linear to narrowly elliptic with a blunt tip, one-veined, often roughly hairy along the margins and sometimes on the midrib beneath. Flowers: mostly solitary on an elongated (over 6 mm long), arched, rough stalk, axillary or terminal, whitish, 1 - 1.5 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with three short, blunt lobes. Stamens four, shorter than corolla. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, 1 - 2 mm long, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded. Stems: numerous, weak, often scrambling over other plants, slender, four-angled, often much branched, roughly hairy on the angles or essentially hairless.

Similar species: No information at this time.

Flowering: mid-June to late September

Habitat and ecology: Found in calcareous marshes, bogs, and other moist areas.

Occurence in the Chicago region: native

Etymology: Galium comes from the Greek word gala, meaning milk, referring to the plants that are used to curdle milk. Trifidum means three-cleft.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Perennial; stems numerous, often much branched, slender and weak, tending to scramble on other plants, retrorse-scabrous on the angles or sometimes essentially glabrous, not evidently bearded at the nodes, mostly in 4's, rarely some in 5's or 6's, linear to narrowly elliptic, blunt, 1-nerved, 5-20 mm, often spreading-scabrous on the margins and sometimes also on the midrib beneath, otherwise glabrous; peduncles numerous, axillary or terminal, commonly 1-3 together on short axillary branches, ±elongate and flexuous, often over 1 cm, each 1(2)-fld; cor whitish, 1-1.5(-1.8) mm wide, 3-parted, the lobes about as wide as or wider than long; fr glabrous, the segments divergent and nearly distinct at maturity, each 1-1.75 mm thick; 2n=24. Moist places at various altitudes; circumpolar, in Amer. s. to N.Y., Pa., Ill., Nebr., and Calif. June-Aug. (G. brevipes; G. brandegei, misapplied) Ours is the circumboreal (but scarcely cordilleran) var. trifidum.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

©The New York Botanical Garden. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Heil et al. 2013, Allred and Ivey 2012, Martin and Hutchins 1980
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Forb/Herb General: Perennial herb with matted stems that scramble over other vegetation; stems slender and weak, to 50 cm long, 4-angled, retrorsely scabrous on the angles. Leaves: Sessile, in whorls along the stems, with 4 leaves per whorl; blades linear to linear-oblanceolate, 1-2 cm long, hispid or scabrous, especially on the midrib and margins. Flowers: Tiny and white; solitary in leaf axils and in groups of 3 at tips of stems; each flower on a long slender pedicel; sepals abesnt; petals cream colored or greenish, fused into a tube topped with 3 or 4 spreading lobes (rotate). Fruits: Dry, indehiscent fruit (schizocarp) consisting of 2 mericarps, these spherical, smooth, glabrous, and black or dark brown. Ecology: Found on margins of lakes, ponds, and streams, in mountain brush, ponderosa pine and spruce-fir forest, from 7,000-11,000 ft (2134-3353 m); flowers June-September. Distribution: CAN south to AL, TX, NM, AZ, and CA. Notes: This lax, sprawling perennial is distinguished by its slender stems which are rough-hairy to the touch if you rub your finger upward along the angles (retrorsely hispid-scabrous); whorls of 4 narrow, round-tipped leaves at each node; tiny white flowers with 3-lobed corollas; and fruits consisting of a pair of dark colored rounded seeds only about 2 mm wide; each pair of seeds shares a single slender stalk.  Ethnobotany: Used to make a tea to treat skin disorders. Etymology: Galium comes from the Greek gala, milk, from the use of Galium verum for curdling; trifidum means 3-parted, for the 3-lobed corolla. Synonyms: Galium brandegeei, G. columbianum Editor: AHazelton 2017
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Morton Arboretum  
Galium trifidum image
Morton Arboretum  
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image
Galium trifidum image