Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Galium serpenticum
intermountain bedstraw

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in Washington; Washington south to California, east to central Idaho and Nevada.

Habitat: Dry, open, rocky slopes from fairly low to middle elevations in the mountains.

Flowers: May-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial herbs from creeping, somewhat woody rhizomes, the stems several and freely-branching, often woody below, up to 4 dm. tall; herbage glabrous to densely covered with fine, stiff, sharp-pointed hairs.


Leaves in whorls of 4, sessile, narrowly lanceolate to broadly ovate, acute, 5-15 mm. long, the midrib prominent beneath.


Inflorescence of many few-flowered peduncles arising from the axils of several of the upper stem leaves; calyx obsolete; corolla rotate, pale greenish-yellow, 2-4 mm. wide, the 4 lobes much longer than the tube; plants dioecious; ovary 2-celled, inferior.


Fruit dry, densely covered with long, white, flattened, straight or flexuous bristles.

Identification Notes:

The long, white bristles on the fruits are unique to this species in our area.

Accepted Name:
Galium serpenticum Dempster
Publication: Brittonia 11(3): 120-121, f. 1D, 3-4. 1959.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Galium multiflorum Kellogg, misapplied [HC]
Galium watsonii (A. Gray) A. Heller, misapplied [KZ99]
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Galium serpenticum in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Galium serpenticum checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Galium serpenticum atlas page.

CalPhotos: Galium serpenticum photos.

USDA Plants: Galium serpenticum information.

48 photographs:
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