Ladies Bedstraw - Yellow Wildflowers
These stunning yellow wildflowers, native to the Western Isles, create quite a display in the summer months where they burst into flower almost all over the Islands, on the machair, near the sand dunes and meadows. Flora of the Hebrides.
Native to the Hebrides
Ladies Bedstraw is a plant that is native to the Hebrides and come into flower in June, July and August. It is a low scrambling plant that is related to madder.
The plants create almost a "carpet" of yellow flowers, frothy clusters of tiny yellow wildflowers, when in full bloom the flowers smell like hay and even of honey too.
Tiny Flowers - 2mm
Each tiny flower is about 2mm in diameter. The flowers are hermaphrodite,i.e. they have male and female organs. The flies and bees pollinate them
Yellow Flowers - Ladies Bedstraw - Stems
The stems which grow up to 3ft tall, often easily root as they trail or creep along the ground. You will often see it near to the sea as it likes the dry sandy terrain of the dunes.
The plant can grow up to 3 feet tall. The seeds ripen August to September. This plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family.
Ladies Bedstraw - Common Names
These lovely yellow wildflowers have many common names such as Our Lady's Bedstraw, Yellow Bedstraw. Maid's Hair, Cheese Renning, Cheese Rennet, Petty Mugget. The name "Cheese Rennet" is so called as the plant has the ability to curdle milk and that in the 16th century it was used to turn milk into cheese.
Name Derivation for Ladies Bedstraw
It is aid that the name comes from the fact that the Virgin Mary placed it in her bed - hence the name “Our Lady’s Bedstraw”, also she used it to help make a soft pillow for the baby Jesus for his head.
At any event it is said to have been used to stuff lady's mattresses.
These wildflowers were probably used in the mattresses as the plant is said to have properties that would deter insects and fleas.
The leaves have no prickles and are pointed in whorls of 8 - 12 and are shiny dark green. The leaves are single veined.
Food for Caterpillars and Moths
This plant is a source of food for caterpillars and moths especially liked by the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
Uses of the Flower Ladys Bedstraw
This plant has been used to colour cheese. Ladies Bedstraw has also been used to create both red and yellow dyes.
Used to Infuse Spirits
This plant is also used to infuse spirits.
Stops Wounds Bleeding
Placed on wounds it is said to stop bleeding. People also place a part of the plant in their shoes in order to prevent blisters
Cleanses the Liver
Bedstraw tea cleanses the liver, kidney, pancreas and spleen of toxic wastes. It is also said to be good foe anaemia. The tea used externally is said to help spots and skin disorders and ladies can use it as an astringent on the face.
Ladies Bedstraw used in Childbirth
History has it Ladies Bedstraw was used for disorders of the uterus. To ease childbirth, it was laid in the bed in their difficult hours.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|