Narrow-leaf bedstraw (Galium angustifolium) is a small, multi-stemmed shrub that may grow alone but often scrambles through the branches of larger plants. The stems are four-sided, usually ridged. Leaves are linear, less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in length, with a small point at the tip. Petioles are absent. Two opposite leaves are accompanied by two leaf-like stipules; together they appear to be wheels of four leaves at intervals along the stem. Stems and leaves may be more or less densely covered with short, firm hairs which give them the sticky feel of Velcro.
Flowers occur in many-branched clusters near the stem ends. Flowers are cream to greenish in color, radially symmetrical and less than 1/8 inch (3mm) in diameter. Sepals are absent. Petals are united into a short tube with 4 (rarely 3 or 5) spreading lobes, often ending in an abrupt point. Male and female flowers are on separate plants. Male flowers have four stamens (rarely three) that alternate with petal lobes. A vestigial pistil is present. Female flowers have one pistil and 4 vestigial stamens. The ovary is inferior and is covered with conspicuous straight white hairs. Two styles, each with a prominent stigma spread outward from a fused base. The clusters of male flowers are often denser than those of female flowers. Narrow-leaf bedstraw is reported to bloom between March and July;7 in the Reserve, the peak flowering period is March – June.1
The fruit is a pair of seeds, covered with dense, radiating hairs, initially white, aging to brownish. Clusters of fuzzy fruits persist into the summer and are as conspicuous as the flowers preceding them.