Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 10 - 40 cm tall Stem: upright or ascending, slender, four-angled, unbranched or branched above, densely short-bearded at the nodes. Leaves: in whorls of four, becoming recurved or bent downward, 8 mm - 1.5 cm long, 1 - 3 mm wide, linear to reverse lance-shaped with a rounded tip, one-veined, fringed with short hairs. Inflorescence: a mostly terminal, branched cluster of three flowers. Flowers: white, 2 - 3 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with four short lobes. Lobes longer than wide. Stamens four, alternating with lobes, shorter than corolla. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, 2 - 3 mm wide, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: late May to mid-June
Habitat and ecology: Local in Sphagnum bogs. It may also occur in marshes and other wet areas.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Galium comes from the Greek word gala, meaning milk, referring to the plants that are used to curdle milk.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Generally in sphagnum in tamarack bogs, marshes, and sedge borders of lakes.
Perennial 1-4 dm, simple or branched above; stems slender, densely short-bearded at the nodes, otherwise glabrous or nearly so; lvs in 4's, soon recurved or deflexed, linear-oblanceolate, 8-15 נ1-2.5(-3) mm, hispidulous on the margins, usually smooth on the midrib; infls few, mostly terminal, 3-fld, 3-10 mm; cor white, 2-3 mm wide, 4-lobed, the lobes longer than wide; fr smooth, 2-3 mm, usually both mericarps developed; 2n=24. Cold bogs, swamps, and wet thickets; Nf. and Lab. to the Mackenzie R., s. to Mass., N.Y., N.J., Ind. and Io. June, July.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.