Northern BedstrawGalium boreale L.
This prairie perennial has creeping rhizomes that often form dense patches. It is commonly named for its historical use as a mattress and pillow stuffing. Young plants and leaves are edible and have medicinal uses, while roots can be used for making a red dye. Flowers are mainly pollinated by flies and beetles, but are capable of self-pollination. They also attract bees, ants, butterflies, and moths.
Canadian Rarity Status:
Not rare. Listed as “may be at risk” in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Numerous, erect, branching stems grow 20-80 cm tall, and are 4-sided with tufts of hair below the nodes. Narrow, lance-shaped stem leaves have three distinct parallel veins and smooth edges, occurring in whorls of four. Basal leaves die back early. Numerous, tiny white, saucer-shaped flowers occur in a branching terminal cluster. Male and female flowers occur on separate plants, each one having four pointy-tipped petals. Fruits are hairy nutlets.
Pale Comandra, Small Bedstraw (Galium trifidum L.), Sweet-scented Bedstraw (Galium triflorum Michx.)
Seeds and/or plants are often available from greenhouses and seed supply companies specializing in native plants. Plants are a good addition to pond edge/wetland, woodland, or prairie gardens. They can be propagated by seed, rhizome cuttings, or division of mature plants.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Northwest Territories
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
- Fescue Prairie
- Mixed Grass Prairie
- Tall Grass Prairie
- Lake Shores
- Open Woodlands
- Rocky Slopes
- Salt Water Shores
- Full Sun
- Part Shade
- Andrenid Bees, Miner/Digger Bees (Andrenidae)
- Ants (Formicidae)
- Blow Flies (Calliphoridae)
- Checkered Beetles (Cleridae)
- Flower Flies (Syrphidae)
- Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae)
- Root Maggot Flies (Anthomyiidae)
- Sphinx and Hawk Moths (Sphingidae)
- Sweat Bees, Halictid Bees and other Bees (Halictidae)
- Wood-nymphs, Satyrs, and Arctics (Nymphalidae (Subfamily Satyrinae))
- Yellow-faced Bees (Colletidae)