Shrubby Bedstraw
Starry Bedstraw

Galium stellatum

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed on Vulture Peak, w. Maricopa Co., Arizona. 15 March 2008. Higher resolution image of Galium stellatum at Wikimedia Common.

SHRUB: Small, intricately branched shrub with rather thin, brittle twigs. Rarely more than one meter tall.

LEAVES: Small leaves are arranged into whorls of four at each node. Similar to other bedstraws, there are stiff trichomes on leaves and young stems but they are short and few of them are barbed.
leaves and flowers of Galium stellatum
RANGE: Fairly common in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona and Mexico usually on rocky slopes within partially shaded deep canyons or north-facing cliffs.

FRUIT: Paired nutlets are beset with an abundance of stiff, glistening-white hairs. When fruit is present this makes the plants conspicuous.

FLOWERS: Four greenish white petals, small and inconspicuous. Blooming in spring and occasionally at other periods during the year.

UNARMED. No thorns or spines, however, the leaf tips are fairly sharp.

Rubiaceae -- Madder or Coffee Family

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More Information:

Sonoran Desert Field Guide
Sonoran Desert Places
Sonoran Desert Naturalist Home Page


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 29 May 2009, updated 8 March 2015.