This is Galium verum, a native wildflower found in meadows and along roadsides. As ever with native plants it has many wonderful common names, including Lady's Bedstraw, Gold Dust, Robin Run the Hedge, Halfsmart, Pretty Mugget, Strawbed and Wild Rosemary.
It is said that the name Lady's Bedstraw came about because it was one of the 'cradle herbs' used to line the manager into which the infant Jesus Christ was laid. The German version of the tale goes further and suggests that it was lined with a mixture of bracken and bedstraw, but the bracken refused to recognise the divinity of Christ and so lost its flower. Lady's Bedstraw did recognise His divinity and its flower was turned to gold.
Traditionally the plant has been used to curdle milk for cheese making, hence additional names of Cheese Rennet, Cheese Running and and Cheese Renning.
During the reign of Henry VIII the plant was used as a hair dye and became known in some locations as Maids Hair.
As a garden plant, it can be used in a wildflower area or meadow and will gently self-seed. It is beloved by our native bees.
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