HEATH BEDSTRAW

Galium saxatile

Bedstraw Family [Rubiaceae]

month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8white
 
inner
inner8cream
 
morph
morph8actino
 
petals
petalsZ4
 
stem
stem8square
 
smell
smell8sickly
sickly

20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
By far the commonest bedstraw of acid soils. Spreading and sprawling.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Grows to a short 30cm high.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Flowers on short branches, mostly near the top of the main stem.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
A whorl of between 5-8 leaves heralds a one-sided branching from the main stem. A further and smaller whorl of bracts appears just beneath each small cluster of flowers near the ends of all the stalks.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Pinkish in bud the flowers gather in small tight clusters.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Like most bedstraws, the stems are square. Flowers pure white with four petals.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Buds pink, flowers white, with four narrow lanceolate petals.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Flowers have four white stamens have fawn coloured anthers bearing cream-coloured pollen, which hovers above the gaps between petals.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
A small whorl of leaves/bracts immediately beneath each flower cluster. These seem to lack minute hairs.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
A whorl of 5 to 8 obovate-lanceolate leaves with forwardly directed minute prickles on the edges.


20th June 2012, Taxal Moor, Whaley Bridge, Derbys. Photo: © RWD
Leaves have a more distinct point at the ends.


Easily mistaken for its limestone counterparts : the northern Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale) and the two southern counterparts Limestone Bedstraw (Galium sterneri) and the rarer Slender Bedstraw (Galium pumilum). Distinction between them hangs on such subtle peculiarities as the presence or absence of minute prickles on the edges of the whorls of leaves, and whether they are forward or backwardly directed, the creaminess or whiteness of the flowers, the number of veins on the leaves, their thinness and shape, and the exact shape of the fruits (when present!).

Many similarities to : Cleavers (Galium aparine) but that has short downward-pointing prickles on each of the four ribs of the stems, which makes it stick to clothing and sheep or other furry animals (whereas Heath Bedstraw has completely hairless stems (and mostly hairy leaves, although there are still some on the leaves). However, the leaves of Heath Bedstraw at 5-11mm are much shorter than those of Cleavers at 10-60mm long.

Some similarities to : Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre) and its two sub-species, Fen Bedstraw (Galium uliginosum), Hedge Bedstraw, Wall Bedstraw (Galium parisiene) and to (Galium album) and its two sub-species.

Identification of Bedstraws is never easy.

No relation to : Heath Groundsel, Heath Lobelia, Heath Cudweed, Heath Pearlwort, Heath Milkwort, Heath Speedwell, Darley Dale Heath, Prickly Heath, Dorset Heath, Sea Heath, Blue Heath, etc etc [plants with similar names belonging to differing families].


  Galium saxatile  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Rubiaceae  

Distribution
 family8Bedstraw family8Rubiaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Galium
Galium
(Bedstraws)

HEATH BEDSTRAW

Galium saxatile

Bedstraw Family [Rubiaceae]