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Fen Bedstraw

Galium uliginosum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rubiaceae (Bedstraw)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Ditches, fens, gardens, lawns, marshes, meadows, roadsides, waterside.

White, 4 petals
Loose clusters of white flowers. Each flower is up to 3mm across. Yellow anthers.
The fruits are low-domed warts.
Whorls of leaves in groups of 6 to 10. Leaves are one-veined. The linear leaves have prickly edges. Similar to Marsh Bedstraw (Galium palustre) but Fen Bedstraw often has rougher, purplish leaves. Fen Bedstraw is also a shorter plant.
Other Names:
Swamp Bedstraw.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Fen bedstraw (Galium uliginosum) is a species of flowering plant in the coffee family (Rubiaceae). It is native to wetland habitats in Europe, Asia, and North America, where it can be found growing along the edges of fens, marshes, and other wetland areas. The plant has slender stems and small, white flowers that bloom in summer. Its leaves are narrow and pointed, and it produces small, brown seeds. Fen bedstraw is often used as a groundcover plant in gardens and landscaping, and it is also used medicinally as a diuretic and astringent. It is adapted to wet, marshy conditions and can tolerate seasonal flooding.


Fen Bedstraw (Galium uliginosum) is a species of flowering plant commonly found in wet and marshy habitats. This plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family and is widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America.

Fen Bedstraw is a perennial plant that grows up to 60cm in height and produces delicate white or pink flowers in the summer. The leaves of this plant are narrow, lance-shaped and grow in a circular arrangement around the stem. The stems are green and slender, with a tendency to trail or sprawl.

One of the most distinctive features of Fen Bedstraw is its ability to colonize wet, marshy environments, where other plants may struggle to survive. This plant is able to tolerate water-logged soils and can help to stabilize banks and prevent erosion in these environments.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Fen Bedstraw also has a range of medicinal properties. The plant has been traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory issues. Fen Bedstraw is also believed to have mild sedative and antiseptic properties.

Despite its many benefits, Fen Bedstraw is considered an invasive species in some areas, particularly in North America where it has spread rapidly and outcompeted native species. For this reason, it is important to monitor the spread of Fen Bedstraw and to prevent it from becoming established in areas where it is not native.

Fen Bedstraw is also known for its unique structure and growth pattern, which makes it an attractive ornamental plant. In gardens, it can be grown in damp or moist soils and can be used as groundcover or as a component in a wildflower meadow. The delicate flowers of Fen Bedstraw are also popular among pollinators, making it a valuable addition to any wildlife-friendly garden.

In traditional herbal medicine, Fen Bedstraw has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, skin conditions, and respiratory issues. The plant contains a range of chemical compounds, including tannins, flavonoids, and coumarins, which are believed to contribute to its medicinal properties.

Despite its medicinal properties, it is important to note that Fen Bedstraw should not be ingested in large amounts as it can be toxic. It is always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before using any herbal remedies.

Fen Bedstraw is a resilient plant that can thrive in challenging environments, making it an important component of many wetland ecosystems. It is also a valuable food source for a range of wildlife species, including birds, small mammals, and insects.

In addition to its ecological benefits, Fen Bedstraw has a long history of use in traditional medicine and textiles. The plant has been used to treat a range of health problems, including digestive disorders, respiratory issues, and skin conditions. In addition, the stems of Fen Bedstraw have been used to make baskets and mats, and the plant was once used as a natural yellow dye.

Despite its many benefits, Fen Bedstraw can also be a problem in some areas, particularly in North America where it has become an invasive species. In these areas, Fen Bedstraw can outcompete native plants and disrupt local ecosystems, making it important to monitor its spread and take action to control its growth.

In conclusion, Fen Bedstraw is a fascinating plant with a rich history of use in medicine, textiles, and traditional culture. Whether you're a nature lover, a herbalist, or simply interested in the natural world, Fen Bedstraw is a plant that is definitely worth exploring further.