Monday, 25 July 2016

Lady's Bedstraw

Medieval legend says that the Virgin Mary had to lie on a bed of this plant, because the donkeys had eaten all the straw.

It grows on hedge banks and in amongst the grass at Filnore Woods.  Each little flower has four yellow petals, but they are so small that they look like a yellow mist.

Like its relative woodruff, it contains coumarin which smells of new mown hay.  Coumarin can be made into dicoumarol, the drug used as an anti-coagulant up until the 1950s, when warfarin became the standard anti-coagulant.

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