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Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw or Yellow Bedstraw) is a herbaceous annual plant of the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe and Asia. It is a low scrambling plant, with the stems growing to 60-120 cm long, frequently rooting where they touch the ground. The leaves are 1-3 cm long and 2 mm broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8-12. The flowers are 2-3 mm diameter, yellow, produced in dense clusters.
In the past the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, the coumarin scent of the plants acting as a flea killer. The flowers were also used to coagulate milk in cheese manufacture and, in Gloucestershire, to colour the cheese Double Gloucester. The plant is also used for dye giving a red madder-like colour and the stems and leaves give a wonderful yellow.
Frigg was very much the goddess of married women, in Norse mythology. She helped women give birth to children, and as Scandinavians used the plant Lady’s Bedstraw (Galium verum) as a sedative, they called it Frigg’s grass.
List of Lepidoptera that feed on Galium
Categories: Rubiaceae | Flora of Europe | Flora of Estonia | Flora of the United Kingdom