A British native wildflower found in meadows across the country, but now sadly much less commonly than previously. Finely cut foliage topped by myriads of tiny golden flowers in June and July.
Very good for a wildflower area or meadow and will gently self-seed.
Common name(s): Lady's Bed Straw, Cheese Rennet, Golden Dust, Lady's Tresses, Robin Run The Hedge, Halfsmart, Maiden's Hair, Rennet Weed, Petty Mugget.
History and Legend
Regular listeners of The Archers may be interested to know that it was voted the County Flower of Borsetshire following a poll by Plantlife in 2002!
The plant was once used as a substitute for rennet to curdle milk for cheese. In Gloucester it was used to colour Double Gloucester cheese.
Before the advent of the modern mattress, Lady's Bedstraw was used for bedding thanks to its soft and springy quality and pleasant scent - it smells of hay when dry.
The flower also has association with giving birth in Norse mythology. Scandinavians used lady's bedstraw as a sedative for women in labour and Frigg, the goddess of married women, was said to help women give birth. As such they called it 'Frigg's grass'.
Photo: Creative Commons License