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Heath Bedstraw

Galium saxatile

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rubiaceae (Bedstraw)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Grassland, heathland, moorland.

White, 4 petals
Tiny, white, forming dense clusters, 4 petals.
Nutlets are brown and ovoid, hairless and with tiny dome-shaped warts.
Sharply pointed. Edges have minute forward pointing prickles. In whorls of 5-8 along the main stem.
Flowers have a slight sickly fragrance.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Galium saxatile, also known as rock bedstraw or heath bedstraw, is a species of flowering plant that is native to Europe and Asia. It is a member of the madder family and is known for its small, white flowers and narrow, pointed leaves. Galium saxatile is a perennial plant that grows up to 50 centimeters (20 inches) tall and has a thin, upright stem. The leaves are linear in shape and are a bright green color, with a distinctive, sharp point at the end. The plant produces small, white flowers that are shaped like a star and are arranged in clusters. Galium saxatile is found in a variety of habitats, including grasslands, meadows, and along roadsides. It is a popular garden plant and is known for its medicinal properties, with the plant being used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments.


Heath Bedstraw (Galium saxatile) is a species of flowering plant that is commonly found in the heaths and moors of Northern Europe and North America. This herbaceous plant is a member of the Rubiaceae family and is known for its delicate white flowers and its use in traditional medicine.

Galium saxatile is a low-growing plant that spreads along the ground and has thin stems that are covered in tiny leaves. It typically blooms in the summer, producing clusters of small white flowers that have a delicate and attractive appearance.

The plant has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. In Europe, it was used as a remedy for skin conditions, as well as to treat menstrual problems and digestive issues. In North America, it was used by Native American tribes to treat a range of conditions, including stomach problems and skin wounds.

Despite its traditional medicinal uses, Heath Bedstraw is not widely used in modern medicine. However, recent studies have shown that the plant contains a number of compounds that have medicinal properties. For example, it has been found to contain compounds that have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-tumor properties.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Heath Bedstraw is also valued for its attractive appearance and its ability to thrive in a range of habitats. It is commonly found in heathlands, moors, and other open habitats, and is often used in landscaping and garden design.

Overall, Heath Bedstraw is a fascinating and versatile plant that is well worth exploring for anyone interested in botany, traditional medicine, or gardening. Whether used for its medicinal properties or simply for its delicate beauty, this plant is sure to be a valuable addition to any collection.

In addition to its medicinal and ornamental uses, Heath Bedstraw is also important for wildlife. The plant provides a valuable source of food for a range of insects, including butterflies and bees, and is also an important habitat for other wildlife species.

The plant is relatively easy to care for, and is well adapted to a range of growing conditions. It prefers well-drained soils, and is able to tolerate both dry and wet conditions. Heath Bedstraw is also able to tolerate exposure to salt, making it a good choice for coastal gardens.

When grown in the right conditions, Heath Bedstraw can be a vigorous grower, spreading quickly along the ground. In some cases, it may need to be controlled to prevent it from taking over the garden. This can be done by removing unwanted plants, or by planting it in a container.

Despite its many benefits, Heath Bedstraw is still relatively unknown to many gardeners. This is a shame, as it is a versatile and attractive plant that can bring a lot of value to any garden. Whether grown for its medicinal properties, its ornamental value, or its importance to wildlife, Heath Bedstraw is a plant that deserves more attention.

It's also worth mentioning that Heath Bedstraw is a hardy plant and can survive in cold and harsh environments. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners in northern regions or for those who are looking for a plant that can tolerate colder temperatures.

In terms of maintenance, Heath Bedstraw is a low-maintenance plant and requires minimal care. It can be propagated easily through division or by seed, and is resistant to most pests and diseases. This makes it an ideal choice for gardeners who are looking for a plant that is easy to care for and requires little maintenance.

Additionally, Heath Bedstraw can also be used for a variety of ornamental purposes, such as ground cover or for edging a garden bed. It can be used to create a natural look in your garden or can be combined with other plants to create a more formal garden design.

In recent years, the popularity of Heath Bedstraw has increased as more people become interested in using native plants in their gardens. This is because native plants are well adapted to local growing conditions and are an important source of food and habitat for local wildlife. By incorporating Heath Bedstraw into your garden, you can help support local ecosystems and contribute to the conservation of our natural environment.

Overall, Heath Bedstraw is a valuable and versatile plant that has much to offer gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike.


Heath Bedstraw filmed on Winter Hill, Lancashire on the 18th June 2022.


Music credits
A Mission - Scoring Action by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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