Perennial herb with a creeping rhizome 20 cm - 0.5 m tall Stem: spreading or ascending, slender, four-angled, much branched, often sparsely rough-hairy on the margins of angles. Leaves: in whorls of six (four on branchlets), 1 - 2 cm long, linear to elliptic with a sharply pointed or bristly tip, rough along the margins, one-veined. Inflorescence: a terminal cluster of flowers with two to three widely spreading forks. Flowers: white, 2.5 - 3 mm wide, more or less flat and circular in outline, with four short, pointed lobes. Stamens four, alternating with lobes, shorter than corolla. Styles two, short. Fruit: dry, indehiscent, 2 mm wide, spherical, paired, separating when ripe, one-seeded.
Similar species: No information at this time.
Flowering: May to late July
Habitat and ecology: Very common in dry woods. Most abundant in open woodlands.
Occurence in the Chicago region: native
Etymology: Galium comes from the Greek word gala, meaning milk, referring to the plants that are used to curdle milk. Concinnum means neat or well-made.
Author: The Morton Arboretum
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Frequent in rich, dry woods throughout the state. In 1916 I met a man near Lake George in Steuben County who makes a tea from this plant and who says that it is an infallible remedy for kidney disorders and dropsy.
Perennial, the slender, spreading or ascending stems 2-5 dm, much branched, often sparsely retrorse-scabrous on the angles; lvs in 6's or those of the branches in 4's, linear or linear-elliptic, 1-2 cm, sharply acute or cuspidate, antrorsely scabrous on the margins; infls terminal and divaricately spreading from the upper axils, 2-3 times branched, the branches and short pedicels very slender; cor 4-lobed, white, 2.5-3 mm wide; fr smooth, 2 mm. Dry woods; N.J. to Minn. and Nebr., s. to Tenn. and Ark., most abundant westward. June-Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.