Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Bluntleaf Bedstraw - Galium obtusum   Bigelow
Members of Rubiaceae:
Members of Galium with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Rubiales » Family Rubiaceae
AuthorBigelow
DistributionThroughout the eastern and central Piedmont and essentially all of the Coastal Plain; ranges west only to Stokes, Rowan, and Gaston counties.

This is a widespread Eastern species, yet it is scarce in the Appalachians and locally in some areas surrounding these mountains. It ranges south to northern FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common in the Piedmont and most of the Coastal Plain. It is locally uncommon in parts of the eastern and central Coastal Plain. The var. filifolium is the one found essentially in the Piedmont, and much of the western Coastal Plain; whereas the nominate variety is nearly restricted to the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, favoring marshes, openings in swamps and bottomlands, and along stream banks, usually where sunny to only partly shaded.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits from May to July.
IdentificationThis is a rather slender herb, erect to ascending, and often quite branched, reaching about 1.5' tall. The stem is usually smooth. Leaves are in whorls of 4, quite hispid at least on the margins, somewhat stiff, and variable in shape. The nominate variety has linear to obovate leaves, about 2/3" long and barely 1/6" wide, whereas var. filifolium has leaves very narrowly linear and barely 1/8" wide. The white flowers are in axillary clusters, mostly in the upper portions; each cluster is on a long pedicel. The fruits are smooth and black, but not fleshy. There are many other Galium species with 4 leaves in a whorl, but only this and G. uniflorum have linear leaves, and that species has dark green, fleshy, evergreen leaves. This is generally the most frequently seen Galium in marshes and other sunny damp-ground habitats.
Taxonomic CommentsEssentially all references list two varieties in the East, the nominate one and var. filifolium; the latter is the more common in NC.

Other Common Name(s)Wild Madder
State RankS4? [S5]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Select a source
AllHerbaria
Individual
Website
Select an occurrence type
AllCollection_naturalSight_natural