Herbs & Plants

Galium boreale

Botanical Name : Galium boreale
Family: Rubiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Galium
Species: G. boreale

Common Names:: Northern bedstraw

Habitat: Galium boreale is native to Northern and central Europe, including Britain, south and west to N. Italy and W. Asia. It grows on rocky slopes and streamsides, moraine, scree, shingle, stable dunes etc, to 1050 metres in N. Britain.

Galium boreale is a perennial plant that dies back to the ground every winter. Established plants spread by rhizomes, creating colonies of new plants around the original one.

The squarish unbranched stems may grow between 20 centimetres (7.9 in) and 50 centimetres (20 in) tall. The leaves are attached directly to the stem in groups of four; spaced evenly like the spokes of a wheel. Leaves are longer than they are wide and have three prominent veins.

It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.The small white flowers grow in a fairly showy panicles from the top of the stem. Each individual flower has 4 pointed segments that fold back from a fused tube enclosing the stamens and pistil. The lightly perfumed flowers have no calyx. Seeds are formed in pairs in dark fruits that may be covered in short hairs.


Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun. This species does not thrive in a hot climate

Edible Uses:
Gallium boreale is edible, with a sweet smell and taste, and can be eaten as a wild salad green. Varieties such as Galium boreale which do not contain the small hooks on the stem are not as palatable as the hooked varieties of Galium, like Galium aparine, but are important plants to remember for survival purposes. Leaves – raw or cooked. A tea is made from the flowering stems.

Medicinal Uses:
The plant is diaphoretic and diuretic. A decoction has been used as a contraceptive. Both Asperuloside (a terpenoid) and Coumarin (a benzopyrone) occur in some species of Galium. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

Other Uses: A red dye is obtained from the root. The plant is used as a stuffing material for mattresses etc.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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