rough bedstraw

(Galium asprellum)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

OBL - Obligate wetland


OBL - Obligate wetland

  Northcentral & Northeast

OBL - Obligate wetland


Rough bedstraw is a sprawling, up to 7 long, perennial forb that rises from a creeping rhizome.

The stems lie flat on the ground (prostrate) or climb awkwardly on adjacent vegetation (scrambling). They are slender, weak, 4-angled, usually much branched, and green, sometimes tinged with red. They are rough with minute, stiff, prickly, downward curved (hooked) hairs on the angles and usually also between the angles. The nodes of the stem are often surrounded with a ring of short, straight, spreading hairs.

The leaves are spreading or slightly ascending and stalkless. They are in whorls of 6 on the main stem, whorls of 4 or 5 on the branches. The blades are narrowly elliptic to inversely lance-shaped, to ¾ long, and to ¼ wide. They are widest above the middle, sharply pointed at the tip, and angled or squared off at the base. They have a single prominent vein running from the base to the tip, and an abrupt, short, sharp, firm point at the tip. The upper surface is hairless. The lower surface is hairless except for short, stiff, prickly hairs along the midrib. There are no glands (appearing as lines or streaks) on the lower surface. The margins are untoothed and are often somewhat curled under. They are rough with a fringe of short, stiff, prickly hairs.

The inflorescence is a small, branched, few-flowered cluster at the end of the stem and rising from the upper leaf axils. The inflorescence branches are ascending, held above the leaves, and forked 1 to 3 times.

The flowers are wide. There are no sepals, 4 petals, 4 stamens, and 2 styles. The petals are white, joined at the base into a minute tube, then separated onto 4 lobes. The lobes are spreading, egg-shaped, and pointed at the tip. The stamens have yellow anthers and are shorter than the corolla. The styles are shorter than the corolla and are topped with a white, head-like stigma. The ovary has two chambers and 2 lobes.

The fruit is a green, hairless, 1 32 to 1 16long, 1 32 wide, 1-seeded capsule, joined in pairs and separating at maturity.




Sprawling: up to 7 long


Flower Color




Similar Species

  Shining bedstraw (Galium concinnum) has no hooked hairs on the stem or leaves. The leaves are narrower, no more than wide.  

Wet. Woods, thickets, marshes, swamps, calcareous fens, and streamsides.




July to September




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Gentianales (gentians, dogbanes, madders, and allies)  


Rubiaceae (madder)  
  Subfamily Rubioideae  
  Tribe Rubieae  


Galium (bedstraw)  

Subordinate Taxa








Common Names


rough bedstraw












The upper angle where a branch, stem, leaf stalk, or vein diverges.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



The female reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of an ovary, styles, and stigmas.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.



A pyramidal inflorescence with a main stem and branches. Flowers on the lower, longer branches mature earlier than those on the shorter, upper ones.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



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