Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Lady’s bedstraw

1. In the Netherlands they used to put lady’s bedstraw in their beds to kill fleas [Burgess Park, London, September 2022].

2.  Having lived in darkest Berkshire for many years I have seen herbal lore disappear as older folks die … The only plant still in general demand is Galium verum, which dried – between sheets of newspaper – is used for lining wardrobes and clothes-chests to deter moths [Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, December 1993].

0393. From my maternal grandparents John Holder (b.1856) and Mary Surman (b.1858) … Maiden’s hair – lady’s bedstraw- also occasionally used by Grandma to curdle milk for cheese when rennet was not available [Cinderford, Gloucestershire, November 1993].

Images: main Wandle Meadow Nature Park, London Borough of Merton, June 2014; inset, Bexleyheath Cemetery, London Borough of Bexley. August 2015.