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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 105. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: About 400 species, distributed chiefly in temperate region. Represented in Pakistan by 24 species.


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Herbs or prickly erect or scandent weak shrubs; stem sometimes terete, sometimes retrorsely aculeolate. Leaves usually 4 or more in a whorl, rarely opposite, stipulate. Inflorescence of axillary or terminal cymes, ultimate branches of the inflorescence often without bracts, bracteoles always absent. Flowers usually bisexual, (3-) 4-memos, minute, pedicel always longer than the ovary and fruit. Calyx-tube ovoid or globose, limb lacking. Corolla rotate, usually cup-shaped, rarely infundibuliform. Stamens 4, rarely 3, included, filaments short, anthers didymous. Ovary 2-loculed, ovoid; styles 2, short; stigmas capitate. Fruit small, ovoid, dry, rarely somewhat fleshy, pubescent or hispid with hooked hairs, sometimes glabrous.

The generic name Galium is derived from Greek word gala which means milk- because Galium verum was formerly used to curdle milk in cheese making. It is a very difficult genus with little character differences; specific delimitaiton particularly at the margin of distributional ranges are not often clear-cut and the characters are intergrading.


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1 Internodes shorter than the leaves 1 Galium ceratophylloides
+ Internodes longer than the leaves (2)
2 (1) Fruit glabrous or granulate (3)
+ Fruit hairy (14)
3 (2) Fruiting pedicel decurved. Fruit 3-5 mm in diameter (4)
+ Fruiting pedicel ± straight. Fruit less than 3 mm in diameter (5)
4 (3) Plants scabrid Fruit granulate, without sunken hair-like raphide crystals 3 Galium tricornutum
+ Plants glabrous. Fruit smooth or rough but not granulate, often with white sunken hair-like raphide crystals 2 Galium kurramensis
5 (3) Flowering branches leafy (leaves of flowering branches much smaller than the vegetative leaves) (6)
+ Flowering branches not leafy (11)
6 (5) Inflorescence divaricately branched. Main stem either minutely scabrid, or minutely to strongly scabrid, or angles smooth (7)
+ Inflorescence not divaricately branched. Main stem glabrous (9)
7 (6) Corolla lobes lanceolate, shortly apiculate. Leaf margins recurved, with antrorsely papiliform teeth 4 Galium saturejifolium
+ Corolla lobes ovate, acuminate. Leaves only scabrous above, specially on midrib and margins (8)
8 (7) Leaves in a whorl of 6-8 23 Galium asperifolium
+ Leaves always in a whorl of 4 24 Galium tetraphyllum
9 (6) Fruits glabrous-granulate. Pedicel small, always smaller than flower 20 Galium acutum
+ Fruits papillose with curved setose hairs. Pedicel elongated always larger than flower (10)
10 (9) Flowers yellowish brown upon drying. Inflorescence reduced to few flowers. Leaves in approximate whorls of 6, margins scarcely revolute 22 Galium campylotrichum
+ Flowers purplish upon drying. Inflorescence not reduced. Leaves in whorls of 6-8, margins revolute 21 Galium subfalcatum
11 (5) Leaves elliptic, lanceolate or oblanceolate, usually obtuse 8 Galium spurium
+ Leaves linear, acute or cuspidata (12)
12 (11) Inflorescence terminal or subterminal. Pedicel c. 2 mm long. Corolla bright yellow. Stem pubescent-glabrate; leaves 8-10 (-12) in a whorl 9 Galium verum
+ Inflorescence axillary and terminal. Pedicel 3-5 mm long. Corolla usually white. Stem minutely scabrid; leaves 6 in a whorl (13)
13 (12) Cymes 5-8 cm long, laxly divaricately branched. Fruit c. 1-1.5 mm across, smooth, mericarps mostly free 10 Galium tenuissimum
+ Cymes 2-3 cm long, forked. Fruit 2-2.5 mm across, covered with white sunken hair like markings, mericarps not free 11 Galium chitralensis
14 (2) Leaves trinerved beneath (15)
+ Leaves not trinerved (17)
15 (14) Upper surface of the leaves glabrous. Leaves lanceolate 12 Galium boreale
+ Upper surface of the Leaves hairy or pubescent Leaves ovate-obovate or elliptic (16)
16 (15) Fruit covered with soft whitish hooked hairs. Leaves 10-30 x 5-15 mm, villous, pubescent beneath 13 Galium elegans
+ Fruit with short compressed hairs. Leaves 6-9 x 3-5 mm, covered on nerves with hooked hairs 7 Galium stewartii
17 (14) Leaves 4 in a whorl. Fruit covered with dense long woolly straight hairs 14 Galium serpylloides
+ Leaves (4-) 6-8 (-10). Fruit covered with hooked bristles (18)
18 (17) Branches filiform. Fruit c. 1 mm in diameter (19)
+ Branches not filiform. Fruit 2 or more than 2 mm in diameter (20)
19 (18) Fruit covered with long hooked hairs. Corolla lobes acute or cuspidate 16 Galium setaceum
+ Fruit with few short hooked hairs. Corolla shortly apiculate or muticous 15 Galium decaisnei
20 (18) Inflorescence terminal or subterminal 17 Galium asperuloides
+ Inflorescence axillary and terminal (21)
21 (20) Bracts foliaceous. lorescence paniculate. Stem and leaves usually laxly covered with long weak hairs 18 Galium hirtiflorum
+ Bracts not foliaceous. Inflorescence 1-3 flowered cyme. Stem and leaves not covered with long, weak hairs (22)
22 (21) Inflorescence more than 1-flowered 19 Galium aparine
+ Inflorescence 1-flowered (23)
23 (22) Stem unbranched, ± filiform. Leaves linear or narrowly lanceolate 5 Galium pauciflorum
+ Stem branched, quadrangular. Leaves oblanceolate-lanceolate 6 Galium ibicinum
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