Saturday, 28 May 2016

Crosswort

Crosswort, Galium cruciata, is flowering at the moment.  A single strand of this modest wild flower is not particularly spectacular, but groups of stems lend a gentle lime green to the hedgerow and verge in May and June.
It's tiny yellow-green flowers, shaped in cruciform (Cruciata) sit on angular, hairy stems, above and close to the leaves, which are arranged in whorls of four, hence the name crosswort.

In bygone days crosswort had a medicinal use.  It was a useful herb for healing wounds, relieving the discomfort of rheumatism and various stomach disorders.  
The dainty flower is one of the bedstraws, part of the Rubiaceae family.  It is related to that pesky plant, goosegrass or cleavers, which little boys love to throw at your back as you pass by, leaving you unaware of a straggly passenger, hooked into your clothing until you get home!

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