Asperula L.

Asperula is a genus with ca. 90 species in Eurasia. It is particularly well-represented in Europe and Turkey. The exact placement of 16 dioecious Australian species remains obscure (Mabberley 2008; Thompson 2009). A single species is doubtlessly native in Belgium: A. cynanchica L. (Lambinon & Verloove 2012). A. arvensis L. is accepted as a native but possibly extinct species in the Lorraine and Champagne phytogeographical departments in France and Luxembourg, close to the Belgian frontiers (Lambinon & Verloove l.c.). Its status in Belgium is uncertain but it is most likely non-native (see below).

Several species of Asperula are cultivated as ornamentals (e.g. Jäger & al. 2008) and some of these were formerly recorded as escapes (see below).

1       Corolla sky blue. Flowers subtended by distinct involucral bracts. Annual. Fruit smooth. Leaves in whorls of 6-8 === Asperula arvensis

         Corolla pink or whitish-pink. Flowers not subtended by involucral bracts. Perennial. Fruit papillose. Leaves apparently in whorls of 4 (native) === A. cynanchica

Additional aliens: Asperula laevigata L. (Medit., vector obscure), A. taurina L. (Euras., garden escape?) and A. tinctoria L. (Eur., garden escape?).


Adema F. (1971) De geslachten Asperula, Galium, Rubia en Sherardia in Nederland: 1, Een synoptische sleutel. Gorteria 5: 116-119.

Ehrendorfer F. & Krendl F. (1976) Asperula. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 4-14.

Jäger E.J., Ebel F., Hanelt P. & Müller G. (eds.) (2008) Rothmaler Band 5. Exkursionsflora von Deutschland. Krautige Zier- und Nutzpflanzen. Springer Verlag, Berlin: 880 p.

Lambinon J. & Verloove F. (avec coll. Delvosalle L., Toussaint B., Geerinck D., Hoste I., Van Rossum F., Cornier B., Schumacker R., Vanderpoorten A. & Vannerom H.) (2012) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Sixième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXXIX + 1195 p.

Mabberley D.J. (2008) Mabberley’s plant-book (3th ed.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: XVIII + 1021 p.

Thompson I.R. (2009) A revision of Asperula and Galium (Rubieae: Rubiaceae) in Australia. Muelleria 27(1): 36-112. [available online at:,_p36-115,_Thompson,_Asperula__Galium.pdf]

Tison J.-M. & de Foucault B. (coord.) 2014) Flora Gallica. Flore de France. Editions Biotope, Mèze : xx + 1196 p.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith