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Galium verum - L.

Common Name Lady's Bedstraw, Yellow Spring bedstraw, Wirtgen's bedstraw
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 3-7
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Waste ground, roadsides etc[7], mainly near the sea[4], on all but the most acid soils[17].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to W. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Galium verum Lady

Galium verum Lady


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Galium verum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies, beetles. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Seed
Edible Uses: Coffee  Colouring  Curdling agent  Drink

Leaves - raw or cooked[62, 179]. A yellow dye from the flowering stems is used as a food colouring[105, 183]. The roasted seed is a coffee substitute[7]. The seed is also said to be edible[179]. The chopped up plant can be used as a rennet to coagulate plant milks[7, 67, 115, 183, 244]. The flowering tops are distilled in water to make a refreshing acid beverage[2, 183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antispasmodic  Astringent  Diuretic  Epilepsy  Foot care  Lithontripic  Urinary  Vulnerary

Lady's bedstraw has a long history of use as a herbal medicine, though it is little used in modern medicine. Its main application is as a diuretic and as a treatment for skin complaints[254]. The leaves, stems and flowering shoots are antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, foot care, lithontripic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9]. The plant is used as a remedy in gravel, stone or urinary disorders[4, 9, 53, 238] and is believed to be a remedy for epilepsy[4, 21]. A powder made from the fresh plant is used to soothe reddened skin and reduce inflammation[7] whilst the plant is also used as a poultice on cuts, skin infections, slow-healing wounds etc[9]. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and is dried for later use[9]. Both Asperuloside (a terpenoid) and Coumarin (a benzopyrone) occur in some species of Galium. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry[238].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Repellent  Strewing  Stuffing

A red dye is obtained from the root[4, 6, 7, 67, 115]. It is rather fiddly to utilize[169]. A yellow dye is obtained from the flowering tops[4, 7, 115]. The dye is obtained from the foliage when it is boiled with alum[207]. The dried plant has the scent of newly mown hay, it was formerly used as a strewing herb[24] and for stuffing mattresses etc[61, 67, 115]. It is said to keep fleas away[207]. A sprig in a shoe is said to prevent blisters[67].

Special Uses

Attracts Wildlife

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade, but it tolerates a position in full sun[14]. Plants are tolerant of dry soils[1], but do not thrive in a hot climate. They dislike very acid soils[17, 53]. A very invasive plant[1], though it is low-growing and mixes without harm with any plants at least 60cm tall[K]. It grows well in the summer meadow[24] and is a food plant for the larvae of several species of butterflies[30].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer[200]. The seed can also be sown in situ in the spring though it may be very slow to germinate[200]. Division in spring. The plant can be successfully divided throughout the growing season if the divisions are kept moist until they are established[200]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Galium aparineGoosegrass, Coachweed, Catchweed, StickywillyAnnual1.2 3-7  LMHFSNDM233
Galium borealeNorthern BedstrawPerennial0.5 0-0  LMHSDM222
Galium gracile Perennial0.2 0-0  LMHSDM121
Galium mollugoHedge Bedstraw, False baby's breathPerennial1.2 3-7 MLMHSDM123
Galium odoratumSweet Woodruff, Sweetscented bedstraw, BedstrawPerennial0.2 5-9 MLMHFSDM333
Galium spuriumFalse CleaversAnnual0.8 0-0  LMHSDM121
Galium tinctoriumThreepetal BedstrawPerennial0.0 0-0  LMHSNM011
Galium triflorumFragrant BedstrawPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSDM122

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Lukasz Luczaj   Wed Jan 23 21:24:21 2002

Crcuciata glabra is not a synonim for Galium verum but for Galium vernum! G. verum and G. vernum are two very distinct species.

(in the process of fixing it Rich)

   Mon Jun 9 2008

there is a species called common marsh-bedstraw, which is distinctly different- a lot smaller and quite common, but there is no entry for this- gallium palustre.

Dada   Wed Mar 25 2009

Could you please let me know where I could buy galim verum?

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