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Northern Bedstraw Flower

Northern Bedstraw Flower

Northern Bedstraw Flower

There are several species of bedstraw growing in Minnesota, all with tiny white flowers (most with 4 petals) and whorled leaves. Distinguishing features are the number of leaves in a whorl, overall hairiness, and number and arrangement of flowers in a cluster. Northern Bedstraw is most easily identified by the whorls of 4 long, narrow leaves and its smooth stem. Northern Bedstraw is also the largest of the Galiums in Minnesota, the most common throughout the state, and the most prolific bloomer.

Northern Bedstraw

Habitat: Northern Bedstraw grows from creeping horizontal rhizomes. It will form large patches via creeping roots, it is not particular as to soil type and can tolerate partial shade and dry conditions once established, but its preference is for somewhat moist well drained soils. It is found in moist to dry prairies and open woods. It can be propagated by dividing the roots or by sowing seed after it has had a cold stratification period of 4 to 6 weeks, but good germination results have been obtained without stratification (University of Washington Herbarium).Notes: Northern Bedstraw is indigenous to the Garden area. Eloise Butler catalogued 3 species of Galium on May 25, 1907 without specifying which ones. On May 28, 1910 she planted more plants that she obtained within Glenwood Park [which surrounded the area of the Garden], using the name Gallium boreale, which would confirm it is indigenous to the Garden Area. Northern Bedstraw was listed on Martha Crone's 1951 inventory of plants in the Garden at that time. It is native to almost all counties in Minnesota except for five in the SW quadrant. It is widespread in North America where it is absent only in 10 states in the southeastern U.S. and in Canada it is absent in Nunavut, Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are about 60 species of Bedstraw in North America. Twelve species are reported to be found in Minnesota, two of which are considered introductions. Of the ten native species, 6 are found in the Garden: G. aparine, Cleavers; G. asprellum, Rough Bedstraw; G. boreale, Northern Bedstraw; G. concinnum, Shining Bedstraw; G. trifidum, Threepetal Bedstraw; and G. triflorum, Fragrant Bedstraw.Northern Bedstraw, (Galium boreale), is a part of the bedstraw family, but is unique because of its smooth, whorled leaves that are not "sticky" like many other in the same family. Galium boreale is listed as an endangered plant in Massachusetts and Maryland. Galium boreale thrives in part shade and medium-dry to medium-moist soils. The flower is similar to other bedstraws, consisting of four petals that are bleach white. The plant grows in dense clumps and can be aggressive at times because of how it spreads both by seed and underground rhizomes. Galium boreale flowers in a mass of branched clusters. (Source: www.prairiemoon.com)

 

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