Take our Quiz of the Week

Test your knowledge of Wisconsin's rare plant, animals and natural communities. Win a prize!


Natural communities
Explore Wisconsin's natural communities.
Rare plants
Learn about plants on the Natural Heritage Working List.
Rare animals
Find rare and non-game animals.
Other features
Discover unique resources.
Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare plants, contact:
Kevin Doyle
608-267-9788

Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre)


Life history

Species overview

Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre), a State Special Concern plant, is found in marshes along the west shore of Green Bay, often on floating mats. Blooming occurs late June through late July; fruiting occurs early July through late August. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through late August.

Synonyms: None

Identification

  • Distinguishing characteristics: Cymes repeatedly branched, 10 to 25 flowers per inflorescence (above the leaflike bract); flowers white, 4-parted, 4 mm broad; nodes not bearded.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence a repeatedly branching cyme with 10 to 25 flowers above the leaflike bract; pedicels short and slender, mostly ascending at anthesis, widely spreading or somewhat reflexed in fruit; corolla white, 4 mm broad, with 4 acute petals.
  • Fruit characteristics: Smooth, 2 mm.
  • Leaf characteristics: In whorls of 5 to 6, linear to narrowly oblanceolate, 5 to 15 mm long, blunt.

Phenology

  • Blooming phenology: late June through late July
  • Fruiting phenology: early July through late August
  • Optimum time to identify: early July through late August

Other

  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Phalaris arundinacea, Potentilla norvegica, Scutellaria galericulata, Polygonum sp., Eleocharis spp., Bidens cernua.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.


Documented locations of Galium palustre in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of March 2012.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in marshes along the west shore of Green Bay, often on floating mats.
  • Soils: Wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Marsh Bedstraw. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Emergent Marsh 2
Northern Sedge Meadow 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Marsh Bedstraw. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre) has very few known occurrences in the state and is of the highest priority for conservation; we encourage you to consult with your District Ecologist or NHI Botanist for specific recommendations for your site.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Prescribed burns and/or brushing may be beneficial (dependent on local site conditions).
  • Maintain and restore open habitat through selective clearing and brushing.

Photos


Marsh Bedstraw  [Photo #23879]

Photo ©  USDA-NRCS.

Marsh Bedstraw  [Photo #1862]

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Photo ©  Wisconsin Herbarium.

Marsh Bedstraw  [Photo #1863]

Specimen scanned by the Wisconsin Herbarium, Madison, WI.

Photo ©  Wisconsin Herbarium.


Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Tuesday, October 07, 2014
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition