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Galium_verum

Galium verum

Galium verum (Lady's Bedstraw or Yellow Bedstraw) is a herbaceous perennial 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 in diameter, yellow, and produced in dense clusters.

It is related to the plant Cleavers, or Sticky Willy (Gallium Aparine).

Uses

In the past the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin scent of the plants acts 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 to make red madder-like and yellow dyes. In Denmark, the plant (known locally as gul snerre) is traditionally used to infuse spirits, making the uniquely Danish drink bjæsk.

Mythology

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.

See also

Gallery

References and notes

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