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Slender Bedstraw

Galium pumilum

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:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, rocky places.

White, 4 petals
The small white flowers grow together in compact clusters. Creamy white flowers with pointed petals. The flowers look the same as those of Limestone Bedstraw. Slender Bedstraw is found mainly in southern England and Limestone Bedstraw is it's northern counterpart.
The fruit is a small, warty, 2-sectioned nutlet. The warts are lower domed than those of Limestone Bedstraw.
The leaves are in whorls of 7 and 8 along the stems. They are stalkless and bristle-tipped. The hairs on the leaves point backwards. The stems are smooth and 4-angled in cross-section. The stems are also reddish at their bases. Can be found growing on limy soils. Slender Bedstraw is less mat-forming than Limestone Bedstraw. Perennial.
Other Names:
Dwarf Bedstraw, Small Bedstraw.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Galium pumilum, also known as dwarf bedstraw or small bedstraw, 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. Dwarf 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.


Slender Bedstraw (Galium pumilum) is a species of flowering plant belonging to the Rubiaceae family. This plant is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to other regions as well.

Slender Bedstraw is a herbaceous perennial plant that grows up to 20 cm tall. It has thin, delicate stems that are covered in small, green leaves. The leaves are typically arranged in whorls of 6 to 8 and are lance-shaped.

The plant produces small, white, four-petaled flowers from June to August. These flowers are arranged in compact clusters and have a sweet, honey-like fragrance.

Slender Bedstraw is a popular ornamental plant due to its delicate appearance and attractive flowers. It is often used in rock gardens, wildflower meadows, and as a groundcover. This plant is also attractive to pollinators, making it an important plant for wildlife conservation.

In addition to its ornamental value, Slender Bedstraw has been used for medicinal purposes. The plant has been used to treat skin conditions, wounds, and respiratory problems. It has also been used as a mild sedative and to improve digestion.

Despite its popularity and value, Slender Bedstraw can be invasive in some regions. This plant is able to spread rapidly and can displace native vegetation. It is important to monitor its growth and control its spread in areas where it is not desired.

In addition to its ornamental and medicinal uses, Slender Bedstraw has also been used for other purposes. The plant has a long history of use in traditional cultures and has been used for various purposes, including:

  • Hay: In the past, Slender Bedstraw was used as a source of hay for livestock. The plant is rich in nutrients and provides a good source of forage for animals.

  • Basketry: The stems of Slender Bedstraw are flexible and can be woven into baskets, mats, and other woven items.

  • Aromatic plant: The plant's sweet fragrance has made it a popular aromatic plant in perfumes, potpourris, and other fragrant products.

  • Landscape design: Slender Bedstraw can be used in landscape design to create a delicate, flowing effect in garden beds and rock gardens. It is often used to create a natural-looking carpet of green and white in shaded areas.

When planting Slender Bedstraw, it is important to choose a location that is well-drained and has moist, fertile soil. The plant prefers partial shade and does not tolerate full sun exposure. It is also important to control the plant's spread to prevent it from becoming invasive in your garden or the surrounding area.

It is important to note that while Slender Bedstraw has a number of uses and benefits, it is also important to be cautious when using it for medicinal purposes. The plant contains chemicals that can be toxic in large amounts, and it is important to use it only under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

When harvesting Slender Bedstraw for medicinal use, it is important to gather the plant when it is in full bloom and to avoid harvesting it from areas that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. It is also important to properly dry the plant to preserve its potency and to store it in a cool, dry place.

In conclusion, Slender Bedstraw is a versatile plant that has a long history of use for various purposes, including ornamental, medicinal, and traditional uses. However, it is important to use caution when using it for medicinal purposes and to follow proper harvesting and storage techniques to ensure its effectiveness and safety.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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