Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 0.5 cm - 2 m tall Stem: weak, spreading or scrambling, slender, four-angled, much branched, rough along the angles. Leaves: in whorls of six (four to five on branchlets), to 2 cm long and 6 mm wide, narrowly elliptic to reverse lance-shaped with a sharply pointed tip, one-veined, rough along the margins and on the midrib beneath. Inflorescence: a small, loose cluster (panicle) of a few flowers, usually ascending, and one to three times forked. Flowers: white, 3 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with four short lobes. Stamens four, shorter than corolla. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, 2 mm wide, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: August to late September
Habitat and ecology: Typically occurring in alkaline wet thickets, sprawling over other vegetation. It is also found in wet woods, marshes, and in the more tangled areas of fens.
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
A plant mostly of springy places and swamps where it usually climbs upon vegetation to a height of 3 to 5 feet. It is very local and is found mostly in the northern half of the state.
Perennial; stems much branched, spreading or scrambling to 2 m, retrorse-scabrous on the angles; lvs in 6's or those of the branches in 4's or 5's, narrowly elliptic to oblanceolate, usually widest above the middle, to 20 נ6 mm, sharply acute or cuspidate, retrorsely scabrous on the margins and midvein beneath; infls terminal and from the upper axils, usually ascending, rarely over 2 cm, 1-3 times forked, few-fld, forming a small loose panicle; cor 4-lobed, white, 3 mm wide; fr smooth, 2 mm. Wet woods and thickets; Nf. to Minn., s. to N.C. and Mo., most abundant northeastward. May-Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.