State Status: N
PBS Status: Tenatively Undetermined (TU)
Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
Purple bedstraw (Galium latifolium) is a perennial herb with erect to reclining, four-sided stems that can reach up to 60cm long. The leaves are 3-6cm long, widest near the base and tapering to the tip, have three prominent veins, and are arranged in whorls of four along the stem. The flowers, which are very small and have four purple lobes with long pointed tips, bloom from June to July and are arranged in open, branched clusters that grow from the upper stem nodes. The 3-4mm round fruits can have a smooth or grainy surface, distinguishing them from related species of bedstraw that have bristly fruits.
Vulnerable in the nation or state due to a restricted range, relatively few populations (often 80 or fewer), recent and widespread declines, or other factors making it vulnerable to extirpation.
The PA Biological Survey considers purple bedstraw to be a species of special concern, based on the relatively few occurrences that have been confirmed. It has been assigned a rarity status of Undetermined, meaning that more information is needed before a more definitive rarity status can be designated.
The species grows in dryish to moist woodlands, especially on shale and sandstone substrate.
Flowers June - July
In Pennsylvania, most occurrences are in the south-central counties in the Ridge and Valley province.
More field surveys are needed to determine the range, abundance, and ecological requirements of the purple bedstraw before a more definite conservation status, if needed, can be assigned.
Conservation Status Map
NatureServe. 2017. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available https://explorer.natureserve.org.
- NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available at https://www.natureserve.org/explorer
- Pennsylvania Natural Heritage Program. 2018.
- Rhoads, A.F. and W.M. Klein, Jr. 1993. The Vascular Flora of Pennsylvania. American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rhoads, A.F. and T.A. Block.
- 2007. The Plants of Pennsylvania: An Illustrated Manual. 2nd edition. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.