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Common Name: Northern Bedstraw
Galium boreale is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.45 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Northern and central Europe, including Britain, south and west to N. Italy and W. Asia.
Rocky slopes and streamsides, moraine, scree, shingle, stable dunes etc, to 1050 metres in N. Britain[
|Flies, Beetles, Self
Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade[
]. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun[
]. This species does not thrive in a hot climate[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
A tea is made from the flowering stems[
The plant is diaphoretic and diuretic[
]. A decoction has been used as a contraceptive[
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[
]. 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[
A red dye is obtained from the root[
The plant is used as a stuffing material for mattresses etc[
Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer[
]. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate[
]. This plant does not really need any help to reproduce itself.
Division in spring or throughout the growing season if the plants are kept well watered[
]. 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.