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Galium verum - Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Login Logout
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Galium verum

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Yellow bedstraw (Sânziana galbenă) from the spontaneous flora of the Transylvanian Plateau

Galium verum (lady's bedstraw<ref name=BSBI07>Template:Cite web</ref> or yellow bedstraw) is a herbaceous perennial plant of the family Rubiaceae. It is widespread across most of Europe, North Africa, and temperate Asia from Israel and Turkey to Japan and Kamchatka. It is naturalized in Tasmania, New Zealand, Canada, and the northern half of the United States. It is considered a noxious weed in some places.<ref name="peggyearnshaw">Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families</ref><ref>Biota of North America Program</ref><ref>Altervista Flora Italiana</ref>

Galium verum is a low scrambling plant, with the stems growing to Template:Convert long, frequently rooting where they touch the ground. The leaves are Template:Convert long and Template:Convert broad, shiny dark green, hairy underneath, borne in whorls of 8–12. The flowers are Template:Convert in diameter, yellow, and produced in dense clusters. This species is sometimes confused with Galium odoratum, a species with traditional culinary uses.<ref>Flora of China, v 19 p 139, 蓬子菜 peng zi cai, Galium verum </ref>

Uses

In the past, the dried plants were used to stuff mattresses, as the coumarin scent of the plants acts as a flea repellant. The flowers were also used to coagulate milk in cheese manufacture and, in Gloucestershire, to colour the cheese double Gloucester.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> The plant is also used to make red madder-like and yellow dyes. In Denmark, the plant (known locally as Template:Lang) is traditionally used to infuse spirits, making the uniquely Danish drink Template:Ill.

Mythology

Frigg was 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.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref>

In Romanian folklore, it is called sânziana and it is linked to the Sânziene fairies and their festival on June 24.Template:Citation needed

In Gaelic mythology, the hero Cú Chulainn, who suffered fits of rage during battle, would take a tea of this plant to calm his frenzy.Template:Citation needed The plant is known as lus chneas Chù-Chulainn 'the herb of Cú Chulainn's skin' in Scottish Gaelic<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>, and in the 14th/15th centuries it occurred with the Irish name Bolad cneise con Culainn ‘the smell of Cú Chulainn’s skin’ (NLI G 11 182b2).<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Subspecies

Many varietal and subspecific names have been proposed, but only four are currently (May 2014) recognized:<ref name="peggyearnshaw"/>

  • Galium verum subsp. asiaticum (Nakai) T.Yamaz - China, Korea, Japan, Russian Far East (Primorye)
  • Galium verum subsp. glabrescens Ehrend. - Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria
  • Galium verum subsp. verum - most of species range
  • Galium verum subsp. wirtgenii (F.W.Schultz) Oborny - Central and eastern Europe plus Western Siberia

Gallery

See also

References

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External links

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