Electronic Flora of South Australia
Electronic Flora of South Australia
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Electronic Flora of South Australia genus Fact Sheet

Family: Rubiaceae

Citation: L., Sp. Pl. 105 (1753).

Derivation: The Greco-Latin name of G. verum L. is gallon, said to be derived from the Greek gala: milk, because that plant was used to curdle milk.

Synonymy: Not Applicable

Common name: Bedstraws.

Annual or perennial herbs with usually slender quadrangular stems and often a slightly woody base; leaves and stipules usually similar in size and in whorls of varying numbers often even on different parts of the same plant.

Inflorescences consisting usually of a number of dichasia in the axils of the leaves on the upper parts of branches but often reduced to cymules or single flowers; flowers bisexual, usually 4-merous; calyx usually absent; corolla rotate, with a very short tube, often hairy; stamens with filaments scarcely fused to the corolla; anthers without a terminal appendage; ovary with 2 locules each with a solitary ovule, with a 2-lobed style each lobe with a capitate terminal stigma.

Fruit dry, breaking into 2 mericarps with maturing.

Distribution:  A cosmopolitan genus of about 400 species many of which are weeds of disturbed areas. The species native to Australia and New Zealand were revised by McGillivray (1983) Telopea 2:355-377.

Biology: No text

Key to Species:
1. 'Leaves' in whorls of 2 at least on the upper branches
2. Stems quadrangular; 'leaves' glabrous or with recurved teeth along the margin
Asperula gemella
2. Stems terete or vaguely angular; 'leaves' serrate-ciliate or with stout hairs pointing towards the apex
Galium divaricatum
1. 'Leaves' in whorls of 4-13
3. 'Leaves' predominantly in whorls of 4
4. 'Leaves' and stems with long spreading hairs
5. 'Leaves' ovate, rarely lanceolate but then much branched plants with branches not longer than 12 cm
Galium compactum
5. 'Leaves' obovate to linear-lanceolate or if lanceolate then the little branched stems 20 cm or more
6. 'Leaves' linear to linear-lanceolate, with the upper surface smooth
Galium gaudichaudii
6. 'Leaves' obovate, elliptic or lanceolate, with the upper surface colliculate to granulate
Galium migrans
4. 'Leaves' and stems glabrous, with bent or recurved hairs
7. Leaf sheath usually glabrous
8. 'Leaves' membranous or almost so, with a colliculate to granulate upper surface
Galium propinquum
8. 'Leaves' somewhat fleshy and with distinctly recurved margins, with upper surface smooth
9. 'Leaves' with scattered straight hairs and serrate-ciliate margins
Galium murale
9. 'Leaves' glabrous or rarely with recurred teeth along the margins
10. 'Leaves' 10-35 mm long at least on the lower branches; robust plants with wiry branches
Asperula gemella
10. 'Leaves' 3-10 mm long; soft herbaceous plant
Asperula subsimplex
7. Leaf sheath with erect hairs, rarely with pointed papillae
11. 'Leaves' broadly elliptic, rarely ovate; hairs on stems almost tuberculate and scarcely recurved
Galium propinquum
11. 'Leaves' obovate to narrowly elliptic (c. 2-3 mm) or lanceolate or if ovate then with spreading hairs on the stems
12. 'Leaves' ovate, with hairs on the margin and along the main vein on the undersurface
Asperula euryphylla var. tetraphylla
12. 'Leaves' obovate or elliptic to lanceolate or if ovate then the undersurface more or less covered with spreading hairs
13. Hairs on the stems changing from long and spreading at the base to bent or recurved and minute, rarely glabrous on upper branches
14. Branches soft-herbaceous or becoming rigid towards the base; slender branched inflorescence longer than the leaves usually retained for more than a year
Galium migrans
14. Branches delicate but usually rigid; inflorescence shorter than the leaves
Galium gaudichaudii
13. Hairs on the stems more or less uniformly short and recurved
15. 'Leaves' of the same whorl unequally long on the lower branches
Galium binifolium
15. 'Leaves' of the same whorl more or less equally long
16. Plants tufted; leaves rarely broader than 1.5 mm
Galium gaudichaudii
16. Plants with soft straggling to prostrate branches; leaves usually 2-3 mm broad
17. Branches occasionally rooting at the nodes; fruit with brown hooked hairs
Galium australe
17. Branches not rooting at the nodes; fruit with white recurved hairs
Galium curvihirtum
3. 'Leaves' in whorls of 5-13
18. Margin of the leaves with hairs pointing towards the apex or serrate-ciliate, rarely glabrous
19. Leaf sheath glabrous
20. Stems quadrangular and ridged, softly herbaceous
Galium murale
20. Stems vaguely angular to terete, stiff or wiry
Galium divaricatum
19. Leaf sheath papillose to hairy
21. 'Leaves' c. I mm, rarely up to 1.5 mm broad, fleshy
Asperula conferta
21. 'Leaves' 1.5-4 mm broad, membranous
22. 'Leaves' gradually tapering into a terminal point, drying pale-green
Sherardia arvensis
22. 'Leaves' abruptly tapering into a terminal point, drying dark to almost black
Asperula gunnii
18. Margin of 'leaves' with recurved or straight erect hairs
23. Stems stiffly erect, somewhat woody, with long straight hairs
Asperula syrticola
23. Stems herbaceous, prostrate to decumbent or straggling, with short recurved hairs
24. Leaf sheath and around the nodes with long fine hairs
Galium aparine
24. Leaf sheath glabrous or with few papillae
25. 'Leaves' 7-16 mm long, with hooked bristles on the margins
Galium spurium subsp. ibicinum
25. 'Leaves' 10-50 mm long, with recurveal hairs on themargins
Galium tricornutum

Author: Not yet available

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