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Common name: Northern Bedstraw
Scientific name: Gallium boreale
Duration: Perennial
Family: Madder family (Rubiaceae)
Habitat: Well-drained, but moist open or woody sites. Foothills to subalpine. Diverse habitat.
Blooming period: Early summer
Color: White
Height: 1-2'
Planting Time:

Pronunciation: Galium boreale (GAY-lee-um bor-ee-AY-lee)

Other common names: northern lights

Forage Value: Rarely grazed by ungulates, but consumed by black bears.

Historic Uses: The common name, bedstraw, comes from the pleasant aroma of the dried leaves of some species in the genus, Galium. Early American Colonists used the dried foliage for bedding for themselves and livestock. Natives would mix the root with wood ash and strawberry juice to make red or yellow dye.

Miscellany: The native range of northern bedstraw extends from Eurasia to North America. This plant is Federally listed at Endangered in both Maryland and Massachusetts. The sweet greens of this plant are edible. Bedstraw is a relative of coffee and similarly its seeds can be dried, roasted as used as a coffee substitute.

The undeserved reputation for weediness of this species is due to its relation to sticky bedstraw (G. aparine) which can be weedy in some areas.
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1461 Thorn Creek Road, Genesee, Idaho 83832