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El Dorado Bedstraw
(Galium californicum ssp. sierrae )

El Dorado bedstraw
Photo Copyright University and Jepson Herbaria

Description: El Dorado bedstraw is a softly hairy perennial herb with leaves radiating in groups of  four at each node. These small plants have stems up to 6 inches (14 cm) long. Plant has separate sexes. Male plants produce very small pale yellow flowers in clusters at the ends of stems. Female plants commonly bear their flowers singly at nodes. Fruits are fleshy 2-lobed berries with minute hairs.

Distribution: Eldorado bedstraw is only known from western El Dorado County. Occurrences extend from the immediate vicinity of Pine Hill, south to the Highway 50 corridor around Cameron Park. BLM manages a 40 acre (16 hectares) parcel north of Pine Hill that supports this species.

Habitat: El Dorado bedstraw grows primarily beneath a forest canopy, in the duff on the forest floor. Ponderosa pine and black oak are common dominant associates. It is also found growing beneath old decadent chapparal, commonly with whiteleaf manzanita as a dominant associate. Other distinctive associated species include sonoma sage, lemmon's ceanothus, El Dorado mules' ears and Pine Hill flannelbush.

Flowering Period:  May to June.

Similar Plants: Perennial life span, short stature, leaves in fours, soft hairiness, fleshy hairy fruits, and leaves that are 5 to 8 times longer than wide, are all helpful in distinguishing this species from other bedstraws (i.e., other members of its genus) and other subspecies of this species.

Status: Federal Endangered, California State Rare, California Native Plant Society List 1B

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Field Office: Mother Lode

Last updated: 08-05-2010