noun \-ˌstr\

Definition of BEDSTRAW

:  any of a genus (Galium) of herbs of the madder family having squarish stems, whorled leaves, and small flowers

Origin of BEDSTRAW

from its use for mattresses
First Known Use: 1527


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any low perennial herbaceous plant of the genus Galium, in the madder family, found in damp woods and swamps and along stream banks and shores. Bedstraws bear finely toothed, often needle-shaped leaves in whorls of four to eight; clusters of small green, yellow, or white flowers; and fruit composed of two rounded nuts joined together. Northern bedstraw (G. boreale), marsh bedstraw (G. palustre), and goosegrass (G. aparine) are common throughout Europe and have become naturalized in parts of North America. Sweet woodruff (G. odoratum) smells like freshly mown hay; its dried shoots are used in perfumes, sachets, and beverages. The roots of several species yield a red dye.


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