Galium Boreale L

Rootstock creeping. Stems firm and erect, 6-18 inches high, not much branched. Leaves 4, in a whorl, lanceolate or linear-lanceolate, with 3 prominent ribs, slightly rough at the edges. Flowers numerous, pure white, in oblong panicles. Corolla-lobes with very short inflected points. Fruit covered with hooked bristles.

Mountain pastures, meadows, and clearings in woods, especially on limestone soil. A variable species.


Most of Europe to the Arctic regions, Caucasus, Armenia, Northern Asia, and N. America. British.

Galium Rubrum L

Rootstock slender, creeping, with stems about a foot high, glabrous, shining, or more or less downy below. Leaves linear-lanceolate, acuminate, the lower ones usually broadened at the apex, nearly glabrous, ciliate at the borders. Flowers in a loose panicle, very small, red or pink. Lobes of the corolla oval, ending in a recurved point. Fruit becoming black.

Dry, stony places in the southern hills and mountains. July, August.


Alps of Dauphiny, Savoie, and all Provence, Southern France, Corsica, Sardinia, Italy, Tyrol, Balearic Isles.

Galium Purpureum L

Rootstock almost woody, with erect stems, 8-18 inches high, much branched, finely pubescent, with short internodes. Leaves in whorls of 8-10, linear, green, with one dorsal vein, finely ciliate. Flowers very small, dark, blood-red. Lobes of corolla oval-acuminate. Fruit glabrous, rugose, becoming black.

Stony hills and dry places in the southern mountains. June to August.


S.E. France from the Var to Basses-Alpes, Maritime Alps, Southern Tessin (not elsewhere in Switzerland), Southern Europe, eastward to Turkey.

Asperula L

Differs little from Galium except in the shape of the corolla, which is funnel- or bell-shaped, with a long tube, often several times as long as the lobes.

Asperula Odorata L. Woodruff

A small fragrant plant, 6-10 inches high, with creeping rootstock. Leaves 6-8, in a whorl, lanceolate, acuminate, rough at the edges, Flowers small, white, in a loose tricotomous cyme. Fruit hispid, globular.

Woods and shady places in the plains and mountains. May.


Europe and Siberia, except the extreme north. British.

Asperula Taurina L

A rather taller plant, with erect, simple stem, branched at the top. Leaves 4, in a whorl, broadly lanceolate, acuminate, 3-nerved, with silky hairs. Flowers white, crowded, subtended by ciliate bracts. Fruit glabrous.

Mountain woods. May, June.


Central and Southern Europe, including Switzerland, Jura, Dauphiny, etc., Western Asia as far as Persia.

Asperula Cynanchica L. Squinancy-Wort

Barren stems, more or less prostrate, the others ascending about 6 inches. Leaves narrow-linear, the lower ones 4 in a whorl, the upper ones often in pairs. Flowers pinkish white, or occasionally white, small, funnel-shaped. Fruit small, tubercular or granulated. A most variable plant, with several Alpine varieties, one of which is Jordani Briq., with pretty deep pink flowers, which variety is found from 4000-7000 feet in Savoy, at Mont Cenis, etc.

Dry, hilly places, especially on limestone. June to August.


Central and Southern Europe to the Caucasus and Armenia. British.

Asperula Glauca Besser

Stems 1-2 feet high, erect. Leaves linear, glaucous, stiff, mucro-nate, 8 in a whorl. Flowers white, 4-lobed, with limb longer than the tube. Fruit glabrous and glossy.

Stony hills; rare in Switzerland. May to July.


Southern France, Southern and Central Europe, Asia Minor, Caucasus, Armenia.

Asperula Hexaphylla All

A small tufted, glabrous species, with leaves in whorls of 6, rather short, linear. Stem branched. Flowers pink, in dense terminal heads, with involucre of small linear bracts beneath; the corolla-tube being 2-3 times as long as the limb. Fruit glabrous.

Sunny rocks, usually limestone, in the lower mountain region; rare. June, July.


Maritime Alps (e.g. Tenda), Northern Italy, Transylvania, Bosnia, Moldavia.