Galium palustre subsp. palustre
Vascular – Exotic
Herbs - Dicotyledons other than Composites
The National Vegetation Survey (NVS) Databank is a physical archive and electronic databank containing records of over 94,000 vegetation survey plots - including data from over 19,000 permanent plots. NVS maintains a standard set of species code abbreviations that correspond to standard scientific plant names from the Ngä Tipu o Aotearoa - New Zealand Plants database.
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.
Throughout in lowland areas, commonest in north and west of both islands.
Swamps and wet grass and sedgeland near water bodies.
Wetland plant indicator status rating
Information derived from the revised national wetland plant list prepared to assist councils in delineating and monitoring wetlands (Clarkson et al., 2021 Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research Contract Report LC3975 for Hawke’s Bay Regional Council). The national plant list categorises plants by the extent to which they are found in wetlands and not ‘drylands’. The indicator status ratings are OBL (obligate wetland), FACW (facultative wetland), FAC (facultative), FACU (facultative upland), and UPL (obligate upland).
OBL: Obligate Wetland
Almost always is a hydrophyte, rarely in uplands (non-wetlands).
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
Seed dispersed by animals, water or contaminated machinery.
Europe and Asia Minor
Reason for introduction
Unknown, possibly seed or soil contaminant
Not controlled in New Zealand.
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
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.