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Galium odoratum
Galium odoratum

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Zone
Zones A2, A3, 2-6, 15-17, 31-43
Partial SunNo Sun
Partial, Shade
Ample WaterRegular Water
Ample, Moderate

Galium

Rubiaceae
Evergreen, Perennials

These woodland and meadow natives all have whorls of narrow leaves spaced at intervals along thin, usually sprawling stems. Flowers are tiny, often profuse. Plants are not showy, but one (Galium odoratum) is a useful groundcover for a shady site, while others have been grown for medicine, food, or dye. Can become invasive.

Galium odoratum (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)
Galium odoratum (photo courtesy of Linda Lamb Peters)

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Galium odoratum

Native to Europe, North Africa, and Siberia. Attractive low spreader that brings to mind deep, shady woods. Slen­der, square stems are encircled every inch or so by six to eight aromatic, bristle-tipped leaves. Clusters of tiny white flowers appear above foliage in late spring and summer. When dried, leaves and stems give off a fragrance like hay; they are used to make May wine. In shade gardens, best used as a groundcover or pathway edging. Spreads rapidly in rich soil with abundant moisture and can become a pest if allowed to grow unchecked. Self-sows freely; can also be increased by division in fall or spring.

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