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Lady's Bedstraw


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 Lady's Bedstraw
Galium verum

Other Names:  Robin-run-the-Hedge, Maiden's Hair, Strawbed, Cheese Rennet, Cheese Running
Distribution:  Native perennial across the UK on grassland or waste ground often near the sea. 
Habitat:  Short grassland and hedgebanks in sunny sites or partly shaded sites.  Description:  Low growing, spreading groundcover plant.  The bright yellow flowers are lightly honey-scented and appear between July and September.
Uses:  The plant got its common name from the mediaeval legend that the Virgin Mary lay on a bed of Lady's Bedstraw at the inn in Bethlehem because the donkeys had eaten all the other fodder in the stable.  It also led to the belief that a woman lying on a bed of Lady's Bedstraw would have a safe and easy childbirth.  The yellow flowers were once used in the North of England for curdling milk. The leaves and stems produce a yellow dye and the roots produce a red dye.  Herbalists claimed that the plant was a remedy for urinary diseases, epilepsy & gout.  It contains a chemical, coumarin, which when made into the drug dicoumarol will prevent blood from clotting.
Wildlife:  Source of food for the caterpillars of the Elephant Hawk, Galium Carpet, Plain Wave & Riband Wave, Bedstraw Hawk, Archer's Dart and Red Chestnut Moths. 

Sowing Instructions for Seed:  Sow seed in spring or autumn in a greenhouse or cold frame. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into individual pots.  Plant the seedlings out into their final position in summer.  Planting in autumn will produce slightly earlier flowering than a spring sowing.

Our plants and seeds are of native British origin.