Sweet-scented bedstraw (Galium triflorum), a rhizomatous perennial often found sprawling over other vegetation, is also commonly called fragrant bedstraw or three-flower bedstraw.
The sweet-scented bedstraw leaves are bristly on the margins and have hooked bristles on the undersides of the midrib. Found in whorls of five or six, the leaf tips have short points. The stem is also bristly. The white flowers have four petals that taper to narrow tips and greenish white stamens. There are usually three flowers in loose clusters on each stem that arises from the axis of the leaf whorls along the stems. Pairs of tiny round pods covered in bristles hold one seed each. The hooked bristles of sweet-scented bedstraw cling to passersby and effectively disperse the plant or seeds.
Some Native Americans used the dried flowers of this aromatic, vanilla-scented bedstraw to make a perfume. Incorporated into a hair rinse, sweet-scented bedstraw was thought to add shine and luster to tresses.
Triflorum, the species name, means “three flowered” and refers to the three flowers that usually occur on each stem (there also may be only one or two flowers per stem).
These sweet-scented bedstraw plants were growing along the North Umpqua Trail upstream from Wright Bridge (Oregon).