Saturday, July 7, 2018

Another mystery plant: Galium mollugo (False Baby's Breath)

I love a good plant mystery and we're experiencing numerous ones here in Quebec (USDA Zone 4),  from native plants to horticultural ones.  We've been living in Zones 7 & 8 (in their current guise) for over 3 decades now, with excursions to places colder than that, too, of course, but we're running into many unfamiliar plants.

A feathery-flowered plant is now an abundant part of the roadside meadow mix here, as we noticed coming back from an excursion this afternoon.  Its identity certainly wasn't obvious from highway botanizing speeds.

Looking at it more closely after we returned home and my gardening companion collected a specimen, we knew it was a Galium, but which one?

Oddly, it was smooth, without the recurved spines that characterize all of the Galiums that I was familiar with - and the flowers were quite small, too.  So that helped narrow the field (in my Google search -- my field guides (both hard copy and online) weren't helpful.  So clues because of the lack of spines brought up a New Brunswick blogger's post about Galiums, where she mentioned the common one on roadsides there was this one.  Click!

It's Galium mollugo: False Baby's Breath, Smooth Bedstraw, or Hedge Bedstraw. Native to Europe and Northern Africa, it's hardy to Zone 3, and was introduced to North America as an ornamental.  It was present in Canada in the late 1800's. It's now common through the northeastern U.S, eastern Canada and beyond.

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