Galium odoratum (L.) Scop.

Galium odoratum plant

Family - Rubiaceae

Stems - Vegetative stems repent, to +50cm long. Flowering stems erect, to 30cm tall, 4-angled, herbaceous, glabrous or with some pubescence at nodes, stoloniferous. Nodes of flowering stem fairly evenly spaced at about 3.5cm apart.

Leaves - In whorls of typically 8-10. Leaves glabrous above, antrorse strigillose on margins and below, oblong-linear, sessile, mucronate, to 3cm long, 8-9mm broad.

Galium odoratum leavesWhorl of leaves.

Inflorescence - Terminal loose umbellate cymes. Peduncles to +6cm long.

Flowers - Corolla white, 4-lobed, glabrous externally. Corolla tube to 2mm long, glandular pubescent at apex of throat internally. Lobes 3-4mm long. Stamens 4, alternating with corolla lobes, slightly exserted, adnate at apex of corolla tube. Filaments .5mm long. Anthers .3mm long, brownish. Ovary 2-carpellate, inferior, densely uncinate pubescent, subglobose. Styles 2, translucent, 1mm long. Stigmas globose.

Galium odoratum flowers

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Cultivated.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This species of Galium is very easy to distinguish from our native species because it has distinctive whorls of 8-10 leaves per node and showy terminal inflorescences. This species is fast growing and could easily become established if it escapes cultivation. The plant contains coumarins and gives off a distinctive "hay" scent when cut, hence the species name.

Photographs taken at the Kansas City Zoo, 4-27-00.


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