Annual herb from a taproot; stems weak, climbing or prostrate, solitary, few branched, square, short-hairy on the angles, the hairs pointed downwards, 10-100 cm tall/long.
Basal leaves few, soon deciduous; stem leaves in whorls of 8 (sometimes 6), narrowly oblanceolate, 1-4 (7) cm long, lowermost stalked, upper ones unstalked, entire, awn-tipped, 1-veined, bristly-hairy along the margins, bristly-hairy above, with hooked hairs, the hairs pointed backwards.
Inflorescence of 3-5, stalked, terminal flowers on branchlets in most leaf axils; corollas saucer-shaped, white, 1.6-2 mm wide, 4-lobed; calyces obsolete.
Nutlets, 2, 3-5 mm wide, with numerous, short, hooked hairs.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
Present over the Spring
Source: The USDA
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BG(4), CDF(110), CMA(1), CWH(52), ESSF(13), ICH(25), IDF(20), MH(1), MS(9), PP(11), SBS(1)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Galium agreste var. echinospermum Wallr.
Galium aparine subsp. spurium (L.) Simonkai
Galium aparine var. echinospermum (Wallr.) Farw.
Galium aparine var. intermedium (Merr.) Briq.
Galium aparine var. minor Hook.
Galium aparine var. vaillantii (DC.) Koch
Galium spurium L.
Galium spurium var. echinospermum (Wallr.) Hayek
Galium spurium var. vaillantii (DC.) G. Beck
Galium vaillantii DC.
There is debate as to the origin status of this species. While some consider it native to North America, some feel it is introduced. It is possible it is native but that it has also been introduced from Europe (Gucker 2005).
References Gucker, Corey L. 2005. Galium aparine. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available Online.