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Sherardia arvensis

Sherardia arvensis (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Gentianales

Familia: Rubiaceae
Subfamilia: Rubioideae
Tribus: Rubieae
Genus: Sherardia
Species: Sherardia arvensis

Sherardia arvensis L., Sp. Pl. 1: 102. 1753.

Hexodontocarpus arvensis (L.) Dulac, Fl. Hautes-Pyrénées: 467. 1867.
Asperula sherardia Hallier in W.D.J.Koch, Syn. Deut. Schweiz. Fl.: 1199. 1893.
Galium sherardia E.H.L.Krause in J.Sturm, Deutschl. Fl. Abbild., ed. 2, 12: 187. 1904.
Sherardia umbellata Gilib., Exerc. Phyt. 1: 26. 1792, opus utiq. oppr.
Asterophyllum scherardianum K.F.Schimp. & Spenn. in F.C.L.Spenner, Fl. Friburg. 3: 1077. 1829.
Sherardia arvensis var. albiflora Tinant, Fl. Luxemb.: 94. 1836.
Sherardia arvensis var. maritima Griseb., Spic. Fl. Rumel. 2: 169. 1846.
Sherardia arvensis var. hirsuta Baguet, Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 15: 132. 1876.
Sherardia arvensis var. walrawenii Wirtg. ex Baguet, Bull. Soc. Roy. Bot. Belgique 15: 132. 1876.
Sherardia arvensis var. neglecta Guépin ex Nyman, Consp. Fl. Eur.: 335. 1879), nom. nud.
Sherardia arvensis var. hirta R.Uechtr. in E.Fiek & R.K.F.von Uechtritz, Fl. Schlesien: 195. 1881.
Sherardia affinis Gand., Contr. Fl. Terr. Slav. Merid. 1: 14. 1883.
Sherardia elliptica Gand., Contr. Fl. Terr. Slav. Merid. 1: 15. 1883.
Sherardia pantocsekii Gand., Contr. Fl. Terr. Slav. Merid. 1: 14. 1883.
Sherardia agraria Tornab., Fl. Sicul.: 284. 1887.
Asperula sherardia var. maritima (Griseb.) Höck in W.D.J.Koch, Syn. Deut. Schweiz. Fl., ed. 3: 1199. 1893.
Sherardia maritima (Griseb.) Borbás, Magyar Bot. Lapok 2: 302. 1903.
Sherardia arvensis var. littoralis Conill, Bull. Assoc. Pyrén. Échange Pl. 15: 13. 1905.
Sherardia arvensis f. argentina Hicken, Anales Soc. Ci. Argent. 65: 311. 1908.
Sherardia arvensis subsp. maritima (Griseb.) Jáv., Magyar Fl.: 1035. 1925.
Sherardia arvensis f. maritima (Griseb.) Litard., Candollea 11: 216. 1948.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
Regional: Northern Europe
Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Ireland, Norway, Sweden
Regional: Middle Europe
Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland
Regional: Southwestern Europe
Baleares, Corse, France, Portugal, Sardegna, Spain
Regional: Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Kriti, Romania, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, former Yugoslavia
Regional: Eastern Europe
Belarus, Baltic States, Krym, Central European Russia, East European Russia, North European Russia, South European Russia, Northwest European Russia (introduced), Ukraine
Continental: Africa
Regional: Northern Africa
Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia
Regional: Macaronesia
Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, Selvagens
Regional: Northeast Tropical Africa
Ethiopia, Sudan (introduced)
Regional: South Tropical Africa
Mozambique, Zimbabwe (introduced)
Regional: Southern Africa
Cape Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal (introduced)
Continental: Asia-Temperate
Regional: Siberia
Altay, West Siberia
Regional: Russian Far East
Primorye (introduced)
Regional: Middle Asia
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
Regional: Caucasus
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus
Regional: Western Asia
Cyprus, East Aegean Islands, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon-Syria, Palestine, Sinai, Turkey
Regional: Arabian Peninsula
Saudi Arabia
Regional: Eastern Asia
Taiwan (introduced)
Continental: Australasia
Regional: Australia
Norfolk Islands, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia (introduced)
Regional: New Zealand
Chatham Islands, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand North, New Zealand South. (introduced)
Continental: Northern America
Regional: Western Canada
British Columbia (introduced)
Regional: North-Central U.S.A.
Illinois (introduced)
Regional: Northeastern U.S.A.
Vermont (introduced)
Regional: Southwestern U.S.A.
California (introduced)
Regional: Southeastern U.S.A.
Kentucky, Tennessee (introduced)
Regional: Mexico
Mexico Central (introduced)
Continental: Southern America
Regional: Central America
Costa Rica (introduced)
Regional: Caribbean
Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti (introduced)
Regional: Western South America
Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru (introduced)
Regional: Southern South America
Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Chile Central, Uruguay (introduced)
Continental: Antarctic
Regional: Subantarctic Islands
Crozet Islands (introduced)

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Sherardia arvensis in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan 4. Reference page.

Vernacular names
čeština: bračka rolní
Cymraeg: mandon las yr ŷd
dansk: Almindelig Blåstjerne
Deutsch: Ackerröte
English: field madder, blue field madder, blue fieldmadder
español: raspilla
eesti: Madarik
suomi: Sinimatara
Gàidhlig: Màdar na Machrach
hornjoserbsce: Rólny šešerjačk, Šešerjačk, Rólny šešeračk
日本語: ハナヤエムグラ, ハナヤエムグラ属
lietuvių: Dirvinė šerardija
Nederlands: Blauw Walstro
polski: Rolnica pospolita, Rolnica
português: granza, granza-dos-campos
русский: Жерардия
slovenčina: drapuľa roľná
svenska: Åkermadd, Blåmadra
中文: 雪亚迪草

Sherardia is a monotypic genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. The genus contains only one species, viz. Sherardia arvensis or (blue) field madder, which is widespread across most of Europe and northern Africa as well as southwest and central Asia (from Turkey to Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan) and Macaronesia (Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira, Savage Islands).[1] It is also reportedly naturalized in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Kerguelen, Ethiopia, Sudan, southern Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica, South America, Bermuda, Cuba, Haiti and much of Canada and the United States (especially the Pacific States and the lower Mississippi Valley).[2][3][4]


Sherardia arvensis is an annual plant with trailing and upright stems growing up to 40 cm long, having a square cross-section. The rough pointed bristly leaves of about 1 cm in length are in whorls of four to six (normally six at the ends of the shoots, but four nearer the root).

The tiny pale lilac or pink flowers are approximately 3 mm in diameter and have a long tube, with only the end part of the four petals free. The flowers grow in clusters of two or three together in an involucral structure formed out of a ring of six bracts.

The fruit are dry and about 3 mm long with two lobes giving rise to two small, dry, indehiscent fruits called nutlets.

The four-angled stems with whorls of bristly leaves and tiny flowers are reminiscent of the Bedstraws and other related Rubiaceae, but Sherardia is distinguished by its mauve/pink flowers that are organized in clusters and having a long corolla tube.[5][6]

Sherardia arvensis plants are hermaphroditic and pollinated by flies.[7]

Sherardia arvensis is a common weed of fields, pasture, grassland, and disturbed areas.[6] The fleshy roots, though much inferior to the common madder (Rubia tinctorum), are sometimes used for the production of a red dye.[8]

The genus and species were described by Carl Linnaeus in Hortus Cliffortianus in 1736 [9] and also appeared in his masterwork Species Plantarum in 1753.[10] The genus was named in memory of the prominent English botanist William Sherard (1659–1728).[9] The Latin epithet arvensis means that it is found in fields.


"Sherardia in the World Checklist of Rubiaceae". Retrieved April 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Sherardia arvensis
Altervista Flora Italiana, Sherardia arvensis
Biota of North America Program, Galium sherardia (synonym of Sherardia arvensis)
Clapham AR; Tutin TG; Warburg EF (1981). Excursion Flora of the British Isles (3 ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 299.
"Field madder on UC IPM Online".
Plants for a Future - Sherardia arvensis
Georgia AE (1914). "Sherardia arvensis". A manual of weeds. The Macmillan Company.
Linnaeus C (1737). Hortus Cliffortianus. Amsterdam: George Clifford. p. 33.
Linnaeus C (1753). Species Plantarum. p. 102.

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