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Crooked Run Valley
Piedmont bedstraw (Cruciata pedemontanum)
Galium pedemontana (Bellardi) Ehrend
Vaillantia pedemontana (Bellardi)
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of Piedmont bedstraw is Cruciata pedemontanum (Bellardi) Ehrend. Piedmont bedstraw is still commonly listed as Galium pedemontana on many websites and in the literature.
This is a difficult genus; the characters are sometimes subtle, and pressed specimens may lack the distinctive aspects of fresh material. Several of the smaller species can be especially troublesome to identify and, indeed, it is necessary to use a good, well-illuminated lens and to consider a balance of characters rather than relying on a single one to separate similar species.
Piedmont bedstraw is similar to field madder, but field madder has leaves in whorls of 4-6, and pink to lavender flowers instead of greenish-yellow.
NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: An annual herbaceous plant in the Madder Family growing up to 28 inches in height. Plants develop simple or branched stems from a thin taproot. Stems are erect, 4 to 28 inches tall, and 4-angled. Both stems and leaves have upward turning stiff hairs or bristles.
Leaves: Leaves grow in whorls of 4 and are simple, elliptic to oblong or narrowly lanceolate with a prominent midrib and are pointed. They are light green and up to ½” long. Early growth has shorter leaves, very compact internodes; later spring growth has larger spaces between nodes.
Flowers: Small yellowish-green flowers are 4-lobed, elliptic, and in the
axils of leaves.
Fruit/Seed: Flowers produce small smooth kidney-shaped fruits.
Roots: Piedmont bedstraw has an thin taproot.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Piedmont bedstraw propogates itself by reseeding.
HABITAT TYPES: Piedmont bedstraw grows in habitats such as waste ground, disturbed sites, roadsides, trail sides, forest edge, yards, paths and grassy fields.
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Piedmont bedstraw prefers sunny loca-
tions and is common along rock/masonry walls at the base of buildings and sidewalks. It occurs in dry sites, open turf, and fertile soils.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Piedmont bedstraw blooms from April to June.
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Piedmont bedstraw naturally occurs throughout the southeast United States (except Florida), and ranges north to New York (except Delaware, New Jersey, all the New England states), and extends west to Texas, Oklahoma, an Kansas. It does not
naturally occur in the upper mid-west states, southwest, and Rocky Mountain states. It reappears in the northwest states. It does not occur
in any Canadian provinces.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Specific information concerning the flora and fauna relationships of Piedmont bedstraw is lacking. However, there is general information concerning fauna associations with Genus Galium. The flowers of Genus Galium are cross-pollinated by flies and small bees. The caterpillars of some moths feed on the foliage or flower tissues of Galium spp. These species include: Epirrhoe alternata (white-bordered toothed carpet), Hyles gallii (Galium sphinx), Lobocleta ossularia (drab brown wave), and Scopula inductata (soft-lined wave). The species Myzus cerasi (black cherry aphid) uses Galium spp. as summer hosts. Three plant bugs are known to feed on these plants: Criocoris saliens, Polymerus proximus, and the introduced Polymerus unifasciatus. White-tailed deer do not seem to browse on the foliage to any significant degree.