Bed herbs

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Bed herbs
White bedstraw (Galium album)

White bedstraw ( Galium album )

Euasterids I
Order : Enzianartige (Gentianales)
Family : Red family (Rubiaceae)
Subfamily : Rubioideae
Tribe : Rubieae
Genre : Bed herbs
Scientific name

The Galium ( Galium ) are a genus within the family of the redness plants (Rubiaceae). Most of the more than 600 species thrive in the temperate climate of the northern and southern hemispheres .

Description and ecology

Illustration of the woodruff ( Galium odoratum )
Illustration of the burdock bedstraw ( Galium aparine )

Appearance and leaves

The Galium species are annual to perennial herbaceous plants , rarely subshrubs . The upright or climbing stems are, at least as long as they are young, square and often clearly prickly or burr-like. There are raphids.

In many species it looks as if there is a multi-leaved (four to twelve) leaf whorl . These are opposite leaves and their uniformly shaped, leaf-like stipules . These leaves are usually sessile, rarely stalked. Leaves and stipules can be fused together. The interpetiolar stipules are reduced in some species. The leaf margins are smooth or serrated. There may be glands on the underside of the leaf. There is usually one major nerve on the leaf surfaces, but sometimes there can be three or more.

Inflorescences and flowers

The flowers are singly or in groups in a single or branched, zymous inflorescence . The flower stalk sometimes elongates until the fruit is ripe, but it is usually relatively short or absent.

The flowers are mostly hermaphroditic, sometimes they are unisexual and then the species are andromonocial , seldom polygamo-dioecious or dioecious . The relatively small flowers are radial symmetry and usually four-fold, more rarely three or five-fold. The flower cups (Hypanthium) is the ovary grown. There are usually four, sometimes three or five sepals , but often the calyx is only rudimentary or absent. The mostly four, rarely three or five petals are more or less broadly fused to seldom bell-shaped; sometimes the corolla-tube is so short that it acts as if the petals were free. The color of the inside bare petals is white to yellow, yellowish green to green, more rarely pink to red to purple. There is only a circle of mostly four, rarely three or five fertile stamens . The well-developed to more or less reduced stamens are inserted near the base of the corolla tube. The anthers are dorsifix. Two carpels are fused together to form a subordinate, bicameral, egg-shaped, ellipsoidal or spherical ovary, the surface of which is smooth, papilose, warty, covered with hook-shaped or rarely straight trichomes , depending on the species . There is only one erect ovule per ovary chamber . The originally two styles are free or fused up to the top, but then with two distinct scar branches that protrude above the corolla. There is a discus . The pollination is usually by insects ( Entomophilie ).

Fruits and seeds

When ripe, the fruits are green, gray, rarely white, red, orange or black. The ellipsoidal to almost spherical split fruits disintegrate into two solitary partial fruits. The fissure fruits are usually dry to leathery, rarely spongy, rarely more or less fleshy and berry-like. The almost spherical, ellipsoidal or kidney-shaped partial fruits are smooth and glabrous to warty and / or covered with trichomes , which are often hook-shaped. The relatively small seeds are grooved on the ventral side. The seed coat (testa) is membranous. The curved embryo has two cotyledons leaf-like leaves ( cotyledons ).

Origin of name

The name bedstraw comes from its use as an acidulant in cheese making . The scientific name Galium (from Greek : Gala = milk ) is also derived from it.

Systematics and distribution

Uneven-leaved bedstraw ( Galium anisophyllum )
Burdock bedstraw ( Galium aparine )
Habit, leaves and flowers of Galium arenarium
Nordic bedstraw ( Galium boreale )
Leaves and flowers of Galium catalinense
Habitus and flowers of Galium cespitosum in the habitat
Habit and leaves of Galium friedrichii
Blue-green bedstraw ( Galium glaucum )
Gloss bedstraw ( Galium lucidum )
Woodruff ( Galium odoratum )
Leaves and inflorescence of Galium oreganum
Marsh bedstraw ( Galium palustre )
White-yellow bedstraw ( Galium × pomeranicum )
Fourfold flowers of Galium pyrenaicum
Round-leaved bedstraw ( Galium rotundifolium )
Three-flowered bedstraw ( Galium rotundifolium ) with leaf whorl and the three flowers typical of this species
Harz bedstraw ( Galium saxatile )
Small-fruited burdock bedstraw ( Galium spurium )
Quadruple flowers of Galium stellatum var. Eremicum
Habit, leaves and inflorescence of the forest bedstraw ( Galium sylvaticum )
Three-horned bedstraw ( Galium tricornutum )
Habit, leaves and inflorescence of the Traunsee bedstraw ( Galium truniacum )
Bog bedstraw ( Galium uliginosum )
Real bedstraw ( Galium verum )

The genus Galium was established in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum , 1, page 105. Synonyms for Galium L. are: Aparinanthus Fourr. , Aparine Guett. , Aparinella Fourr. , Bataprine Nieuwl. , Chlorostemma Fourr. , Eyselia Neck. , Galion St.-Lag. , Gallion Pohl , Gallium Mill. , Relbunium (Endl.) Hook. f. , Trichogalium Fourr. , Aspera Moench .

The genus Galium belongs to the subtribe Rubiinae of the tribe Rubieae in the subfamily Rubioideae Verdc. within the family of the redness plants (Rubiaceae).

The genus Galium is found almost worldwide. The species thrive mainly in meridional to temperate zones, but also in alpine and arctic areas or in subtropical to tropical zones at higher altitudes. There are about 63 species in China, 23 of them only there. For example Galium saxatile , Galium schultesii , Galium verum are considered invasive plants in some areas, for example California .

The genus Galium is divided into sections (selection):

Galium section of Aparinoides
Galium Section Baccogalium
Galium section Bataprine
Galium section Depauperata
Galium Section Galium
Galium Section Hylaea (Griseb.) Honorable.
Galium section Jubogalium
Galium section Kolgyda
Galium Section Leiogalium
Galium Section Leptogalium
Galium Section Lophogalium
Galium Section Miscellaneous
Galium section Orientigalium
Galium section Platygalium
Galium section Relbunium
Galium Section Trachygalium


The genus Galium contains over 600 species:

Ingredients and usage

The Galium species contain rennet . In the past, red dye for textiles was extracted from the roots, similar to the related madder .


Individual evidence

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  2. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at Tao Chen, Friedrich Ehrendorfer: In: Flora of China Editorial Committee: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven & Deyuan Hong (Eds.): Flora of China , Volume 19 - Cucurbitaceae through Valerianaceae, with Annonaceae and Berberidaceae , Science Press and Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing and St. Louis, February 28, 2011, ISBN 978-1-935641-04-9 . Galium , p. 104 - online with the same text as the printed work.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr cs ct cu cv cw cx cy cz da db dc dd de df dg dh di dj dk dl dm dn do dp dq dr ds dt du dv dw dx dy dz ea eb ec ed ee ef eg eh ei ej ek el em en eo ep eq er es et eu ev ew ex ey ez fa fb fc fd fe ff fg fh fi fj fk fl fm fn fo fp fq fr fs ft fu fv fw fx fy fz ga gb gc gd ge gf gg gh gi gj gk gl gm gn go gp gq gr gs gt gu gv gw gx gy gz ha hb hc hd he hf hg hh hi hj hk hl hm hn ho hp hq hr hs ht hu hv hw hx hy hz ia ib ic id ie if ig ih ii ij ik il im in io ip iq ir is it iu iv iw ix iy iz ja jb jc jd je jf jg jh ji jj jk jl jm jn jo jp jq jr js jt ju jv jw jx jy jz ka kb kc kd ke kf kg kh ki kj kk kl km kn ko kp kq kr ks kt ku kv kw kx ky kz la lb lc ld le lf lg lh li lj lk ll lm ln lo lp lq lr ls lt lu lv lw lx ly lz ma mb mc m d me mf mg mh mi mj mk ml mm mn mo mp mq mr ms mt mu mv mw mx my mz na nb nc nd ne nf ng nh ni nj nk nl nm nn no np nq nr ns nt nu nv nw nx ny nz oa ob oc od oe of og oh oi oj ok ol om on oo op oq or os ot ou ov ow ox oy oz pa pb pc pd pe pf pg ph pi pj pj pk pl pm pn po pp pq pr ps pt pu pv pw px py pz qa qb qc qd qe qf qg qh qi qj qk ql qm qn qo qp qq qr qs qt qu qv qw qx qy qz ra rb rc rd re rf rg rh ri rj rk rl rm rn ro rp rq rr rs rt ru rv rw rx ry rz sa sb sc sd se sf sg sh si sj sk sl sm sn so sp sq sr ss st su sv sw sx sy sz ta tb tc td te tf tg th ti tj tk tl tm tn to tp tq tr ts tt tu tv tw tx ty tz ua ub uc ud ue uf ug uh ui uj uk ul um un uo up uq ur us ut uu uv uw ux uy uz va vb vc vd ve vf vg vh vi vj vk vl vm vn vo vp vq vr vs vt vu vv vw vx vy vz wa wb wc wd we wf wg wh wi wj wk wl wm wn wo wp wq wr ws wt wu wv ww wx wy wz xa xb xc xd xe xf xg xh xi xj Rafaël Govaerts, 2003: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Rafaël Govaerts (Ed.): Galium. In: World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP) - The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew . Retrieved on 2020-106-04.
  4. Valerie L. Soza & Richard G. Olmstead: Molecular systematics of tribe Rubieae (Rubiaceae): Evolution of major clades, development of leaf-like whorls, and biogeography . In: Taxon . tape 59 , no. 3 , 2010, p. 755-771 ( PDF ).
  5. Robert E. Preston, Lauramay T. Dempster, 2013: Galium entry in the Jepson eFlora .
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj Karol Marhold, 2011: Rubiaceae. Datasheet at Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity .

Web links

Commons : Labkräuter ( Galium )  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
  • Galium on the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  • Galium at Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, accessed February 14, 2015.
  • Galium at In: Flora of Pakistan . Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis
  • Search for "Galium" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species .