sweet woodruff

(Galium odoratum)

Conservation Status
sweet woodruff
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - No Status Rank

SNA - No Status Rank


not listed


Sweet woodruff is an erect, 6 to 12 tall, perennial forb that rises on numerous stems from a creeping rhizome. The leaves and stem have a scent of newly-mown hay.

The stems are more or less erect. They can be up to 20 long, but longer stems will recline somewhat and be no more than 12 in height. They are slender, 4-angled, hollow, and branched. They are rough with stiff, downward-pointing hairs just below the nodes, but are otherwise hairless. They do not have hooked hairs. Leaf nodes are evenly spaced and are about 1 apart.

The leaves are stalkless. They are mostly in whorls of 8, though there may be 6 to 10 leaves in a whorl. The blades are inversely lance-shaped or narrowly elliptic, widest at or just above the middle. They are to 2long, and to ½ wide. They have a single prominent vein, the midrib, running from the base to the tip. They are evenly tapered to the tip and to the base. There is a short, sharp, abrupt point (mucro) at the tip. The upper surface is green and hairless. The lower surface is similarly colored and sometimes has rough, forward-pointing hairs along the midrib, but is otherwise hairless. The margins are untoothed and have a fringe of forward-pointing hairs. The leaves do not have hooked hairs.

The inflorescence is a showy, loose, branched cluster (cyme) of several stalked flowers at the end of the stem and branches.

The flowers are to 3 16 long and to ¼ wide. There are 4 white petals fused at the base into a short tube then separated into 4 short lobes with pointed tips. There are 4 stamens with white filaments and brownish anthers, and 2 styles. There are 2 carpels at the base of the flower. The carpels are light green, densely hairy, and joined together. They do not have hooked hairs.

The fruit is a ball-shaped, 1-seeded capsule, joined in pairs. It is covered with hooked bristles.




6 to 12


Flower Color




Similar Species


Moderate moisture to wet. Woods. Full or partial shade.




May to June


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 7, 22, 29, 30.




Native to Asia and Europe. Introduced and cultivated; escaped cultivation.





  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 (bedstraws)  

Subordinate Taxa






Asperula odorata


Common Names


sweet woodruff

sweetscented bedstraw











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



A branched, flat-topped or convex flower cluster in which the terminal flower opens first and the outermost flowers open last.



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

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    sweet woodruff   sweet woodruff  






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Other Videos
  Sweet Woodruff (Galium Odoratum) - 2012-05-14

Published on May 21, 2012

Galium odoratum is a perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae. Its vernacular names include woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby's breath; master of the woods.


Lievevrouwebedstro (Galium odoratum, synoniem Asperula odorata) is een overblijvende, winterharde, kruidachtige plant uit de sterbladigenfamilie (Rubiaceae).

  Galium odoratum - Waldmeister, Woodruff

Published on Apr 22, 2014

Der Waldmeister (Galium odoratum) ist auch als Wohlriechendes Labkraut bekannt und bei uns heimisch. Wie auch der Kaffee (Coffea) zählt er zur Familie der Rötegewächse.

Weitere Infos: http://winterharte-stauden.com/galium-odoratum-waldmeister/

Woodruff (Galium odoratum) is a member of the Rubiaceae family. The native to Europe herb is related to the coffee shrubs.

  Flori albe de galium odoratum sau vinarita
Adrian Manolache

Published on Apr 28, 2014




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