Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 30 cm - 1.2 m tall Leaves: in whorls of six to eight, 1 - 2.5 cm long, linear-oblong to reverse lance-shaped with a bristly tip, one-veined, with roughly hairy margins. Inflorescence: a widely branched, rather showy cluster (cymose panicle) of numerous flowers. Flowers: white, 2 - 5 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with four short, pointed lobes. Stamens four, alternating with lobes, shorter than corolla. Anthers yellowish. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, 1 - 1.5 mm wide, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded. Stems: numerous, weak, more or less upright from a decumbent base, slender, four-angled, sometimes with short, spreading hairs below.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: late May to late September
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe. An increasingly common weed found in a variety of habitats, especially along roads and railroads.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Etymology: Galium comes from the Greek word gala, meaning milk, referring to the plants that are used to curdle milk. Mollugo is an old name for the genus Galium.
Perennial 3-12 dm, the numerous weak stems usually ±erect from a decumbent base, glabrous or shortly spreading-hairy below; short, slender, leafy perennial offshoots produced in summer or fall; lvs in 6's or 8's, antrorsely scabro-ciliate, otherwise glabrous, linear-oblong to oblanceolate, mostly 1-2.5 cm and broadest above the middle, 1-nerved, cuspidate, concolorous; fls numerous in terminal, often divaricately branched, rather showy cymose panicles, the cor white or nearly so, 2-5 mm wide; fr glabrous, 1-1.5 mm; 2n=22, 44, 66, 88. A Eurasian weed, now well established in our range. The typical phase has the cor 2-3 mm wide, the pedicels usually longer than the width of the fls, and lax infls with the branches strongly divaricate after anthesis. The var. erectum (Huds.) Domin (G. album Mill.) has the cor 3-5 mm wide, the pedicels usually shorter than the width of the fls, and rather dense infl with less divaricate branches. Both are reported in our range.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.