Galium spurium

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaRubiaceaeGaliumGalium spurium


An annual, formerly occurring as an arable weed on autumn-cultivated land, particularly in cereal and potato crops, but in recent years known only from a few allotments and nearby roadside verges. It may occasionally arise from a residual seed bank during roadworks. It flowers in autumn. Lowland.



World Distribution

Circumpolar Temperate element, with a continental distribution in W. Europe; the limits of its native range have been obscured by its spread in cultivation.

Broad Habitats

Arable and horticultural (includes orchards, excludes domestic gardens)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.1

Annual Precipitation (mm): 755

Height (cm): 100

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 55

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -1.87

JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (263a)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jermyn ST
1974.  Flora of Essex.
Malik N, Vanden Born WH
1988.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 86. Galium aparine L. and Galium spurium L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 68:481-499.