Galium palustre subsp. palustre
Galium: From the Greek galo 'milk', the leaves of Galium verum being used in the past to curdle milk
palustre: From the Latin palus 'swamp', meaning growing in swamps
Galium palustre L.
Small herb with thin straggling stems, rough to the touch, often scrambling through taller vegetation, leaves in groups of 4 along the stem, with small groups of tiny (2-3 mm across) white flowers obvious during summer and autumn.
Vascular - Exotic
Dicotyledonous Herbs other than Composites
Throughout in lowland areas, commonest in north and west of both islands.
Swamps and wet grass and sedgeland near water bodies.
Perennial; stems slender, weak and straggling, to c. 60 cm long, glabrous, or scabridulous on the acute angles. Lvs and stipules in whorls of 4-(6), subsessile or with short petiole to c. 1 mm long, 3-15 × 0.7-4.5 mm, linear, narrow-elliptic or oblanceolate, generally glabrous; margins flat, sometimes scabridulous; apex usually obtuse, sometimes subacute. Lvs of uppermost nodes often smaller. Cymes small, loose, glabrous or nearly so, often 2-5 from same axis, each with c. 3-7 fls, usually aggregated into panicles of up to 20 fls; peduncles very variable in length, to c. 2 cm long; pedicels up to 3 mm long, divaricating at fruiting; bracts leaflike at base of infl., either very reduced or 0 toward apex. Corolla 2-3-(3.5) mm diam., white; lobes ovate or ovate-oblong, acute or mucronulate. Mericarps 0.8-1.2 mm diam., globular, ± papillate.
Galium debile is similar both in habitat and growth habit, differing by the denser flowering cymes, fruiting inflorescence branches not markedly divaricationg and the usually narrower leaves.
Summer to autumn
Summer to autumn
Europe and Asia Minor
Reason for Introduction
Unknown, possibly seed or soil contaminant
Not controlled in New Zealand.
Life Cycle and Dispersal
Seed dispersed by animals, water or contaminated machinery.
Factsheet prepared by Paul Champion and Deborah Hofstra (NIWA). Features description from Webb et al., (1988).
References and further reading
Webb, C.J.; Sykes, W.R.; Garnock-Jones, P.J. (1988). Flora of New Zealand Volume 4: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Botany Division, DSIR, Christchurch.
Popay et al (2010). An illustrated guide to common weeds of New Zealand, third edition. NZ Plant Protection Society Inc, 416pp.
Johnson PN, Brooke PA (1989). Wetland plants in New Zealand. DSIR Field Guide, DSIR Publishing, Wellington. 319pp.
This page last updated on 21 Aug 2013