Botanical Name: Cruciata laevipes
Species: C. laevipes
*Valantia cruciata L.
*Galium cruciata (L.) Scop.
*Galium cruciata var. laevipes (Opiz) W.D.J.Koch
*Rubia cruciata (L.) Baill.
*Valantia hirsuta Gilib.
*Aparine latifolia Moench
*Galium valantia G.Gaertn., B.Mey. & Scherb.
Common Names: Crosswort, Smooth bedstraw or Luc na croise in Gaelic.
Habitat: Cruciata laevipes is native to Europe, including Britain, from the Netherlands to Poland, south to S. Europe, W. Asia and Siberia. It grows on open woodland, scrub, hedges, waysides and pastures, especially on calcareous soils.
iata laevipes is a perennial sprawling plant that can grow to a height of 15–70 cm (6–28 in), spreads by seeds and stolons and has, unusually amongst this group, yellow hermaphrodite flowers. The inner flowers are male and soon fall off, whilst the outer are bisexual and produce the fruit. The flowers smell of honey. Of the whorls of four leaves, only two in each group are real leaves, the other two being stipules. It is associated with arbuscular mycorrhiza that penetrate the cortical cells of the roots. It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from June to July Pollination is by bees and flies.
Cruciata laevipes prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun]. This species does not thrive in a hot climate. The flowers have a sweet powerful perfume. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
Through seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate. Division in spring or throughout the growing season if the plants are kept well watered. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Edible Uses: Leaves are vedible , eaten – raw or cooked.
The herb is astringent, diuretic and vulnerary. It is not much used nowadays, but was considered a very good wound herb for both external and internal use. A decoction of the leaves has also been used to treat obstructions of the stomach and bowels, to stimulate the appetite and as a remedy for rheumatism, rupture and dropsy. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
Other Uses: A red dye is obtained from the root. Good to grow in flower garden.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.