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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  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Galium verum Lady

Galium verum Lady
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Galium verum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles, self.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: acid, neutral and basic (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.


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].
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;  Foot care;  Lithontripic;  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]. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries[238]. 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].
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].
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].
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
Found In
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 odoratumSweet Woodruff, Sweetscented bedstraw, Bedstraw33
Galium spuriumFalse Cleavers12
Galium tinctoriumThreepetal Bedstraw01
Galium triflorumFragrant Bedstraw12
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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
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)

Elizabeth H.
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.
Elizabeth H.
Dada Wed Mar 25 2009
Could you please let me know where I could buy galim verum?
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Subject : Galium verum  

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