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Cruciata laevipes

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Cruciata laevipes is a species of flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is commonly known as crosswort, smooth bedstraw or Luc na croise in Gaelic.<ref>ITIS Report</ref> The Latin epithet laevipes refers to the smooth stalk.


This perennial sprawling plant can grow to a height of 15–70 cm, spreads by seeds and stolons and has, unusually amongst this group, yellow hermaphrodite flowers. The inner flowers are male and soon fall off, whilst the outer are bisexual and produce the fruit. The flowers smell of honey. Of the whorls of four leaves, only two in each group are real leaves, the other two being stipules.<ref>Hutchinson, John (1955). British Wild Flowers. Harmondsworth : Penguin. V. 1. p. 211.</ref> It is associated with arbuscular mycorrhiza that penetrate the cortical cells of the roots.

Distribution and habitat

Cruciata laevipes is found in most of Europe as well as from northern Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, and the western Himalayas.<ref name="reneepappini">Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Cruciata laevipes</ref> It is also reportedly naturalized in Ontario County in New York State.<ref>Biota of North America Program, Cruciata laevipes</ref> Cruciata laevipes is found in meadows, road verges, riverbanks, scrub and open woodland, generally on well-drained calcareous soils.<ref>The Flora of Derbyshire</ref>


Cruciata laevipes is little used in herbal medicine today, but it was once recommended as a remedy for rupture, rheumatism and dropsy.<ref>Medicinal plants</ref> Bald's Leechbook recommended crosswort as a cure for headaches.<ref>Robert Lacey and Danny Danziger August: The Year 1000: What Life Was Like at the Turn of the First Millennium Little, Brown, 2000 Template:ISBN</ref>

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