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Hedge Bedstraw

Edible Edible Spring Spring Summer Summer

Hedge Bedstraw is similar in looks and taste to Cleavers but lacks the hooked hairs and general roughness so is good to eat raw or it can be used to make a tea or soup.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Hedge Bedstraw, False Babies Breath
Synonyms Galium erectum, Rubia mollugo
Scientific Name Galium mollugo
Season Start Feb
Season End Oct
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.


The small linear to elliptic leaves grow in circular whorls along the stem of the plant.


Many tiny, white, four petaled flowers emerge from the axils of the leaves in late Spring and can continue until late Summer.


Has a smooth, hairless, square stem that is usually erect until it becomes quite long and can sag under its own weight.


Hedgerows, edges of woods, meadows, waste ground and gardens.

Possible Confusion

Could be confused with Cleavers, pictured, but Cleavers are covered in small hooked hairs and are edible.


The young ‘tips’ are pleasant in a salad, the older parts can be quite bitter.


Fairly common.

Other Facts

Hedge Bedstraw is a member of the Rubiaceae family which it shares with Cleavers and Coffee. The fruits/seeds of Hedge Bedstraw can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute which contains less caffeine.


4 comments for Hedge Bedstraw

  1. Maria Lanzante LANZANTE says:

    Is there any chance you will be doing any foraging near woking?
    Brookwood farm woods and meadows?


    1. Poppy Ives says:

      we do go to Guildford every year. Check the foraging courses link in the top menu 🙂

  2. Simon says:

    I though Bedstraw contained Anthraquinone which is toxic. Are certain parts of the plant not edible?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Bedstraw does contain Anthraquinone but in amounts small enough to not adversely affect humans. Some smaller mammals can be affected when Bedstraw takes over forage crops for animals as it is very invasive.

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