Lady's Bedstraw

©Neil Wyatt

Lady's Bedstraw

Scientific name: Galium verum
In summer, the 'frothy' flowers of Lady's Bedstraw can carpet the grasses of meadows, heaths and coasts with yellow and fill the air with a sweet, honey-like scent.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

The frothy, yellow flowers of Lady's Bedstraw scent the air of our grasslands, chalk downlands, meadows, heaths and sand dunes with honey. The stems can be so dense with flowers that they carpet the grass with yellow from June to September. Dried, this flower has the scent of new-mown hay, and its name is probably derived from the tradition of stuffing straw mattresses with it, particularly those of women about to give birth.

How to identify

Lady's Bedstraw has small, narrow leaves that appear in whorls on its angular stems. The stems carry frothy heads of tiny, yellow flowers that appear in dense clusters.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Historically, Lady's Bedstraw was used to curdle milk in the process of cheese-making - a convenient vegetarian replacement for rennet, which is made from the stomach lining of cows.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.