Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 30 cm - 0.7 m tall Stem: upright or ascending, slender, four-angled, branched from base, hairless or nearly so. Leaves: in whorls of four, 3 - 8 cm long, 1 - 2.5 cm wide, elliptic (lower) to lance-shaped (upper) with a long-pointed tip, three- to five-veined, thin, minutely hairy-fringed (ciliate), finely hairy along the midrib beneath. Inflorescence: a long-stalked cluster of flowers with one to three widely spreading forks. Flowers: stalkless or nearly so, greenish to purple, 3 - 5 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with four short, pointed lobes. Stamens four, alternating with lobes, shorter than corolla. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, bent downward, 3 mm wide, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded, with hooked bristles.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: mid-June to mid-July
Habitat and ecology: Dry to rich woods and thickets.
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. Lanceolatum means lance-shaped.
Erect or ascending slender perennial 3-7 dm, branched from the base; stem glabrous or nearly so; lvs in 4's, thin, the lower elliptic, the upper lanceolate, 3-8 נ1-2.5 cm, long-tapering to an acute or acuminate tip, 3-5-nerved, minutely ciliate, finely hairy on the midvein (and sometimes other veins) beneath; infl widely divaricate, 1-3-forked; cor glabrous, turning purple in age, its lobes acuminate; fr deflexed, uncinate-hispid, 3 mm. Dry woods and thickets; Que. to Minn., s. to N.C. and Tenn. June, July.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.