FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Galium boreale, Northern Bedstraw

Galium boreale. The northern bedstraw is quite common in the southern and western regions of Iceland. However, it can also be found commonly in other grassy and relatively better vegetated regions of Iceland, It prefers grassy areas and heather country. Quite characteristic are the leaf-whorls along the stem. They consist of four leaves. On cloeser inspection one can see that these four are made up of a pair that is both slightly longer and broader than the other pair.
A very similar species is the rarer fen bedstraw (G. uliginosum) which has only whorls of more than 4 leaves.
Much more common is the Slender bedstraw (Galium normannii). This plant is however a low soil-creeping plant that can be found in dry area's like gravel-rich soils and hillsides.
The Lady's bedstraw (Galium verum) is a yellow flowering relative. This is also a common species of Iceland
They are members of the Madder family (Rubiaceae). The Icelandic name of this Northern Bedstraw is KrossmaĆ°ra.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise


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