They are plants of the substrata of the midsummer woods - weak-stemmed, inconspicuous plants which till in the gaps among larger and more ostentatious plants. The bedstraws are numerous, much-branched, fragile, fillers-in, ye1 they have a certain charm of their own which gives them their own unique niche in the woods. The bedstraws have an architectural beauty, a symmetry and rhythm of growth.
Galium trifidum L.
The stems are arranged to accommodate many even whorls of leaflets and it is these leaves in their individual size, shape, and texture which serve most easily in identifying bedstraws at any time of the growing season. All have four-parted, small white flowers which are held on many-branched, thin, thread) stems.
Smallest and most ornamental of the group is small bedstraw. The leaf-whorls are scarcely an inch in diameter, usually smaller, with very narrow, dark green leaves set in a six-parted star around the angled, weak stem. The Bowers are a troth of while in midsummer. They appear to be almost suspended in the air above the tangle of dark green foliage. The fruits which soon appear are held in pairs on the tips of the stems. Wild licorice (Galium circaezans) identifies itself at once when a piece of the plant i- broken here i- the true flavor and odor of anise or licorice. The leaves are broad, oval, four of them arranged in a group in whorls along the short stem. Wild licorice holds its stems more erect than most of the other bedstraws and often sends up a number of stalks from a single root. Flower stems spring from the leaf whorls and branch several times with small greenish white flowers on each.