Smooth Bedstraw

Scientific Name: Galium mollugo
Family Name: Rubiaceae




Flower: 1/8 in. (4 mm.) wide, white, four-petaled flower, without sepals. The flowers grow in clusters from the stem.

Leaf: ½ - 1.25 in. (1.5 – 3 cm.) long, linear or lanceolate leaves in whorls of six to eight.


Plant: 1 – 3 ft. (30 – 90 cm.) tall, smooth stem.

Identifying Characteristics: The short thin, linear, whorled leaves identify Smooth Bedstraw.

Location: We found Smooth Bedstraw in the waste area behind Mount Peake Cemetery in Waltham, Massachusetts.

History and Comments: Smooth Bedstraw is native to Europe, and it is now considered a weed. It grows on roadsides, but it prefers waste places. Smooth Bedstraw is also commonly called Wild Madder. Its genus name "Galium" comes from the Greek word, "gala," meaning milk, because Smooth Bedstraw was used to curdle milk in cheese production.



    Unless otherwise specified, all text, photographs, and drawings are Copyright (c) by Shu-Yee Chen and Deborah Hamer 2003. No part of this page may be reproduced without prior written consent of the authors.