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Galium odoratum - (L.)Scop.

Common Name Sweet Woodruff, Sweetscented bedstraw, Bedstraw
Family Rubiaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Woodland and shady areas[4, 14] on damp calcareous and base rich soils[17]. Often found in beech woods[268].
Range Northern and central Europe, including Britain, south and east to N. Africa and Siberia.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade
Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff, Sweetscented bedstraw, Bedstraw


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Galium_odoratum_Sturm47.jpg
Galium odoratum Sweet Woodruff, Sweetscented bedstraw, Bedstraw
biolib.de

 

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Summary

Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring. Form: Spreading or horizontal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Galium odoratum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from May to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies, bees. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil. It can tolerate atmospheric pollution.

Synonyms

Asperula odorata.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers;  Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Drink;  Tea.

Leaves - raw or cooked[62]. The leaves are coumarin-scented (like freshly mown hay), they are used as a flavouring in cooling drinks[2, 9, 27] and are also added to fruit salads etc[183, 200]. The leaves are soaked in white wine to make 'Maitrank', an aromatic tonic drink that is made in Alsace[238]. A fragrant and delicious tea is made from the green-dried leaves and flowers[2, 183, 268]. Slightly wilted leaves are used, the tea has a fresh, grassy flavour[200]. The sweet-scented flowers are eaten or used as a garnish[183].

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;  Cardiac;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Homeopathy;  Sedative.

Sweet woodruff was widely used in herbal medicine during the Middle Ages, gaining a reputation as an external application to wounds and cuts and also taken internally in the treatment of digestive and liver problems[4]. In current day herbalism it is valued mainly for its tonic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory affect[254]. The leaves are antispasmodic, cardiac, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative[9, 13, 21, 200]. An infusion is used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous tension, varicose veins, biliary obstruction, hepatitis and jaundice[9, 238]. The plant is harvested just before or as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[9]. One report says that it should be used with caution[21] whilst another says that it is entirely safe[9]. Excessive doses can produce dizziness and symptoms of poisoning[268]. The dried plant contains coumarins and these act to prevent the clotting of blood - though in excessive doses it can cause internal bleeding[254]. The plant is grown commercially as a source of coumarin, used to make an anticoagulant drug[268]. Do not use this remedy if you are taking conventional medicine for circulatory problems or if you are pregnant[254]. 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]. A homeopathic remedy made from the plant is used in the treatment of inflammation of the uterus[238].

Other Uses

Dye;  Pot-pourri;  Repellent;  Strewing.

A red dye is obtained from the root[168]. Soft-tan and grey-green dyes are obtained from the stems and leaves[168]. A good ground-cover plant for growing on woodland edges or in the cool shade of shrubs[24, 200]. It spreads rapidly at the roots[28, 197, 208]. It is an ideal carpeting plant for bulbs to grow through[K]. Although the fresh plant has very little aroma, as it dries it becomes very aromatic with the scent of newly-mown grass and then retains this aroma for years[2, 200]. It is used in the linen cupboard to protect from moths etc.[4, 14] It was also formerly used as a strewing herb and is an ingredient of pot-pourri[238]. It was also hung up in bunches in the home in order to keep the rooms cool and fragrant during the summertime[245].

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Ground cover, Massing, Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade[200]. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun[200]. This species does not thrive in a hot climate[200]. Prefers a moist calcareous soil[9, 13, 14]. Dislikes very acid soils[187]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. This species is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and grows well in towns[208]. A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[187]. Sweet woodruff is occasionally cultivated in the herb garden for its medicinal and other uses. The dried foliage has the sweet scent of newly mown hay[245]. A very ornamental plant[1] but it spreads rapidly[28] and can be invasive[200]. However, this is rarely to the detriment of other plants since these are normally able to grow through it[200]. It does no harm to any plants more than 60cm tall[208]. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing, Suitable for dried flowers, Fragrant flowers.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer[200]. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate[200]. A period of cold stratification helps reduce the germination time. Lots of leafmold in the soil and the shade of trees also improves germination rates. Division in spring. The plant can also 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. Cuttings of soft wood, after flowering, in a frame.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Galium aparineGoosegrass, Coachweed, Catchweed, Stickywilly23
Galium borealeNorthern Bedstraw22
Galium gracile 12
Galium mollugoHedge Bedstraw, False baby's breath12
Galium spuriumFalse Cleavers12
Galium tinctoriumThreepetal Bedstraw01
Galium triflorumFragrant Bedstraw12
Galium verumLady's Bedstraw, Yellow Spring bedstraw, Wirtgen's bedstraw32

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Scop.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ihsan Ali   Tue Mar 28 2006

my friend (Syed Abdul Khaliq Jan,Depott of Chemistry University of Peshawar Pakistan.)had phytochemical worked on this species,he had isolated various chemical compounds from it . his E-mail:akj_chemist@yahoo.com

miles irving   Mon Aug 7 2006

Coumarin breaks down to form dicoumarin in the presence of certain moulds, which can afflict the plant materila during drying if it gets damp. Di coumarin is an anti coagulant which leads to death by bleeding even from small cuts.

abdul khaliq jan   Tue Aug 29 2006

Respected sir/Madam, i have completed most of the studies on the given species,i will send all the required impormation on demand,if needed.Hope u appretiate, my e-mail;akj_chemist@yahoo.com phone.+92-0300-5856017

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Subject : Galium odoratum  
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