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(woodruff), a genus of annual and perennial herbs and subshrubs of the family Rubiaceae. The stems are square and smooth; the leaves are whorled or, rarely, opposite. The small, usually tetramerous flowers are most commonly in a panicle or head. The fruit is dry and separates into two sections.
There are about 90 species (according to other data, as many as 200), distributed in Eurasia, primarily in the Mediterranean. The USSR has 70 species. A. odorata (or Galium odoratum) is found in broad-leaved and mixed forests and in ravines. Dyer’s woodruff tinctoria), which contains a dye substance in its roots, grows in the European USSR and in the southern part of Western Siberia in meadows, on steppe slopes, and in pine forests. Many species are nectar-bearers. Several species, including A. azurea (or A. orientalis) and Asperula nítida, are cultivated as ornamentals. Some species, for example, A. odorata, are frequently included in the genus Galium.
T. V. EGOROVA