Galium is a large genus of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the family Rubiaceae, with about 400 species occurring in the temperate zones of both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Most species are known as bedstraw.
The Field Madder (Sherardia arvensis) is a close relative and may be confused with a tiny bedstraw. Asperula is also a closely related genus; some species of Galium (such as woodruff) are occasionally placed therein.
Galium, or Ladies' straw, was used as a red dye during Anglo-Saxon times in England. (see Anglo-Saxon Crafts by Kevin Leahy, p75-76)