Galium aparine

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaRubiaceaeGaliumGalium aparine


A scrambling annual of cultivated land, hedges, river banks, waysides, soil heaps and waste places, also growing in more natural habitats such as scree slopes and shingle. It inhabits both tall-herb and ruderal communities, thriving on highly fertile soil. Seed is dispersed by mammals. 0-440 m (Clun Forest, Salop).



World Distribution

European Temperate element, but widely naturalised so distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 8


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1080

Life form information

Height (cm): 150

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2672

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 960

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: -0.09

Weighted Changed Factor: -16

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (262d)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Malik N, Vanden Born WH
1988.  The biology of Canadian weeds. 86. Galium aparine L. and Galium spurium L. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 68:481-499.
Meusel H, Jäger EJ
1992.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
Taylor (1999a)