Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Lanceleaf Wild Licorice - Galium lanceolatum   Torrey
Members of Rubiaceae:
Members of Galium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rubiales » Family Rubiaceae
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DistributionEssentially throughout the Mountains; does not occur downstate.

This is a Northern species, ranging from eastern Canada south to northwestern SC and northeastern AL.
AbundanceRare to locally uncommon. When RAB (1968) was published, it was known from just four counties, but extensive surveys in recent decades have turned it up in many new locations, known now from 14 counties. Even so, it is still a scarce species, and the NCNHP lists it as a Watch List species.
HabitatThis is strictly a forest species, usually found on rich forest slopes. It does occur in alluvial forests and to more mesic slopes.
PhenologyFlowers in June and July, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a moderately robust Galium, growing erect or leaning, often branched from the base; stems may reach 1.5-2 feet long. The stem is typically smooth. The species has 4 leaves per whorl, with each one being lanceolate in shape (though lower ones are smaller and elliptical). The larger leaves are about 2 inches long and about 3/4-inch wide, widest near the base, tapering to an acute tip. The flowers are mostly cream to whitish (turning purple in age), sessile and near the tip, on long and slender stalks that are mostly terminal, and with fruits being bristly. G. latifolium is also mostly montane and can occur in similar places, with its leaves similar in shape; however, it has flowers in branched axillary clusters, purple or maroon in color, and with smooth fruit. If flowers and fruit are not visible, they can look a bit similar, but G. latifolium tends to have longer tapering leaves with acuminate tips. G. circaezans is also smooth and with 4 leaves per whorl, but its leaves are barely 1-inch long and are elliptical. Take care in identifying this scarce species, and make sure you don't have G. latifolium instead.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Lanceleaf Bedstraw
State RankS2
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [W1]
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorriePhoto taken 1982, Taunton, Bristol County, MA. Photo_non_NCPhoto_non_NC
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