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Cruciata laevipes

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rubiaceae (Bedstraw)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Grassland, hedgerows, meadows, mountains, riverbanks, roadsides, scrub, wasteland, wetland, woodland.

Yellow, 4 petals
The flowers of Crosswort typically consist of small, star-shaped yellow blooms. These flowers are formed in clusters and contain four petals, emitting a sweet fragrance. Each cluster of blossoms exhibits a delicate and vibrant yellow hue, attracting pollinators such as bees and butterflies. The flowers bloom from late spring to mid-summer, adding a cheerful and picturesque element to the plant's overall appearance.
The fruit of Crosswort typically develops in the form of small, rounded capsules. These capsules contain seeds and are often observed as a product of the plant's flowering stage. Upon maturation, the capsules tend to split open, releasing the seeds, allowing for propagation and the plant's reproductive cycle to continue.
The leaves of Crosswort are arranged in whorls along the plant's stem. Each whorl consists of four lance-shaped leaves, creating a cross-like pattern. These leaves are smooth in texture and typically have pointed tips. The vibrant green foliage contributes to the overall lush appearance of the plant and provides an elegant backdrop for the yellow flowers during the blooming season.
Crosswort emits a sweet, mild fragrance from its yellow, star-shaped flowers. The scent is often described as delicate and pleasant. When the flowers are in bloom, they release a subtle and enjoyable aroma, which can attract various pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Other Names:
Maiden's Hair, Maywort, Smooth Bedstraw, Smooth Cruciform.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Cruciata laevipes, also known as the smooth cruciform, is a flowering plant in the Rubiaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia, and can be found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, grasslands, and alpine meadows. The plant has small white flowers that bloom in the summer and is known for its medicinal properties. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat a range of conditions including stomach aches, indigestion, and anxiety.


Crosswort, or Cruciata laevipes, is a flowering plant that belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It is commonly known as crosswort and is native to Europe, North Africa, and western Asia. It is a low-growing plant with a creeping habit and can grow up to 30 cm tall.

The plant has a distinctive cross-shaped pattern on its leaves, which is where it gets its name from. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped and can grow up to 5 cm in length. They are a bright green color and are covered in tiny hairs, giving them a soft texture.

In the summer months, crosswort produces small, white or pink, star-shaped flowers that are arranged in clusters at the end of the stems. The flowers are small but very pretty and are a popular food source for many types of insects, including bees and butterflies.

Crosswort is a tough and hardy plant that can grow in a variety of soils, including sand and clay. It is also resistant to drought and can tolerate periods of dry weather. This makes it an ideal plant for use in rock gardens, or as a ground cover in areas where there is limited soil or moisture.

One of the most interesting things about crosswort is its medicinal properties. The plant has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. It has been used to treat headaches, digestive problems, and skin irritations, among other things.

Crosswort is a fascinating and versatile plant that can be used in many different ways in the garden. Whether you're looking for a ground cover for a rock garden, or a plant that can help treat common ailments, crosswort is a great choice. With its distinctive cross-shaped leaves and pretty flowers, it is sure to add a touch of charm to any garden.

Crosswort is a versatile plant that can be grown in a variety of conditions. It is often used in rock gardens and as a ground cover, but it can also be grown in pots and containers. When grown in pots, crosswort can be used to add interest and texture to balconies, patios, and other outdoor spaces.

The plant is also very low maintenance and does not require a lot of attention to thrive. It is resistant to pests and diseases, and it does not require regular pruning. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that will still provide a lot of interest and beauty in their garden.

Crosswort is also a great plant for wildlife gardens. The small, white or pink flowers are a popular food source for many types of insects, including bees and butterflies. This makes crosswort an important plant for supporting local ecosystems and promoting biodiversity in the garden.

In terms of propagation, crosswort is very easy to propagate. The plant can be propagated by dividing the roots or by taking stem cuttings. If you want to propagate crosswort from stem cuttings, it is best to take cuttings in the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. Simply take a stem cutting, remove the lower leaves, and plant it in a well-draining soil mix. With proper care, your new crosswort plant should be established and growing in no time.

In conclusion, crosswort is a great plant for gardeners of all levels. It is low maintenance, easy to propagate, and provides a lot of interest and beauty in the garden. Whether you're looking for a plant for your rock garden, a ground cover, or a plant that will support local wildlife, crosswort is a great choice.

30 Facts About Crosswort

Crosswort, also known as Cruciata laevipes, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. Here are 30 facts about Crosswort:

  1. Crosswort belongs to the Rubiaceae family and is also known by names such as Smooth Bedstraw or Smooth Lady's Bedstraw.
  2. It typically grows in woodland areas, meadows, and shady places.
  3. The plant reaches a height of about 20 to 50 centimeters (8 to 20 inches) and has whorls of four leaves.
  4. Its square stems are a common characteristic shared with many plants in the Rubiaceae family.
  5. Crosswort produces small, star-shaped yellow flowers, usually with four petals, in clusters.
  6. The flowers have a sweet scent and attract various insects, especially bees and butterflies.
  7. It blooms from late spring to mid-summer, adding vibrant color to its surrounding environment.
  8. The plant's name "Crosswort" is derived from the arrangement of its leaves, which form a cross-like pattern on the stem.
  9. Historically, Crosswort was used for medicinal purposes, often applied externally to treat skin conditions or internally as a remedy for digestive issues.
  10. It was also utilized in traditional herbal medicine as an astringent and was believed to have diuretic properties.
  11. Crosswort was used in the preparation of yellow dye.
  12. Its roots were occasionally used to curdle milk in the cheese-making process.
  13. The plant is considered an indicator of ancient woodlands due to its sensitivity to environmental changes.
  14. Crosswort often grows in dense patches due to its creeping rhizomes, which allow it to spread quickly.
  15. It can be found in various countries across Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
  16. Crosswort prefers damp, calcareous soils and partially shaded areas for optimal growth.
  17. This plant is relatively low-maintenance and can be an attractive ground cover in gardens or natural landscapes.
  18. The leaves and stems of Crosswort are sometimes used in herbal teas for their purported health benefits.
  19. It has been historically associated with providing a fragrant and aromatic addition to potpourri and herbal sachets.
  20. The plant has been referenced in folklore and traditional stories for its symbolism and supposed magical properties.
  21. Crosswort's nectar-rich flowers attract a range of pollinators, aiding in local ecosystem biodiversity.
  22. It can be occasionally confused with similar bedstraw species due to their shared features and habitats.
  23. In some regions, Crosswort is considered an invasive species due to its rapid spreading nature.
  24. It has relatively low palatability for grazing animals due to its bitter taste and texture.
  25. Crosswort's root systems can help prevent soil erosion in certain landscapes.
  26. The plant has adaptations that allow it to survive in various environmental conditions.
  27. It has been studied for potential pharmaceutical applications due to its chemical constituents.
  28. Crosswort has inspired artists and nature enthusiasts for its simple yet elegant appearance.
  29. This herbaceous perennial can often be found growing alongside other woodland plants.
  30. Its presence contributes to the overall biodiversity and visual appeal of natural habitats.

These facts offer insight into the characteristics, uses, and ecological significance of Crosswort in various contexts.


Crosswort filmed around Carnforth, Lancashire on the 28th April 2023 and 13th May 2023.


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