Weed Seed: Galium mollugo (False baby's breath)

Family

Rubiaceae

Common Name

False baby's breath

Regulation

Secondary Noxious, Class 3 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

Canadian: Occurs in AB, BC, NB, NF, NS, ON, PE and QC (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1, Mersereau and DiTomasso 2003Footnote 2).

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa, Europe and western parts of temperate Asia (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 3). In North America, it is present in western and eastern sides of the continent (USDA-NRCS 2016Footnote 4, Mersereau and DiTommaso 2003Footnote 2).

Duration of life cycle

Perennial

Seed or fruit type

Schizocarp, divided into 2 fruits

Identification features

Size

  • Fruit length: 1.0 - 2.0 mm
  • Fruit width: 0.5 - 1.5 mm

Shape

  • Fruit is reniform to round with longitudinal groove on ventral side

Surface Texture

  • Fruit surface is wrinkled, may also be bubbled

Colour

  • Fruit is brown to dark-brown

Other Features

  • The hilum is in a long groove on the inner side of the fruit

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields, pastures, natural meadows, old fields, forest edges, river flats, roadsides and waste places (Mersereau and DiTommaso 2003Footnote 2).

General Information

False baby's breath was introduced into North America as an ornamental plant, and first recorded in Canada in the late 1800s (Mersereau and DiTommaso 2003Footnote 2). Hybrids with the similar yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) have been recorded (Mersereau and DiTommaso 2003Footnote 2).

Similar species

Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale)

  • Fruits of northern bedstraw are a similar size, reniform shape, brown colour and grooved hilum as false baby's breath.
  • Northern bedstraw fruits are covered in flat, white bristles, while fruits of false baby's breath are glabrous.

Yellow bedstraw (Galium verum)

  • Fruits of yellow bedstraw are a similar reniform shape, brown colour, grooved hilum and glabrous, wrinkled surface as false baby's breath.
  • Yellow bedstraw fruits tend to be longer than false baby's breath by up to 0.5 mm, more curved in cross-section and the surface is heavily wrinkled and bubbled.

Photos

Figure 1 - False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruits
False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruits
Figure 2 - False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
Figure 3 - False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
Figure 4 - False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit
Figure 5 - False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit, cross-section
False baby's breath (Galium mollugo) fruit, cross-section

Similar species

Figure 6 - Similar species: Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale) fruits
Similar species: Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale) fruits
Figure 7 - Similar species: Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale) fruit
Similar species: Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale) fruit
Figure 8 - Similar species: Yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) fruits
Similar species: Yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) fruits
Figure 9 - Similar species: Yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) fruit
Similar species: Yellow bedstraw (Galium verum) fruit
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