Crosswort Cruciata laevipes

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See May, June
Colour Yellow
Habitat Grassland

'A lowe and base herbe of pale greene colour, having many square, feeble rough stalks full of joints or knees, covered over with a soft downe' -

A flower of the waysides, crosswort is often found along road verges, footpaths and railway embankments.

It's name derives from its hairy, oval leaves that are arranged in whorls of four like a cross around a four-angled hairy stem. When in bloom they are filled with frothy yellow flowers that smell of honey.

Distribution

Found growing across England, Wales and southern Scotland. It is rarer in Cornwall, west Wales and northern Scotland.

Habitat

Any wayside verge such as roadsides, cycle paths, hedgerows, and railway embankments. Also found in open woods, scrub, meadows and other grassland areas. Crosswort prefers calcareous soils.

Best time to see

In May and June when its frothy yellow flowers bloom.

Did you know?

Cruciata laevipes is a flowering plant species in the coffee family, commonly known as crosswort, smooth bedstraw or Luc na croise in Gaelic. Other charming names are Maywort and Maiden's Hair. The Latin epithet laevipes refers to the plant's smooth stalk.

Although Crosswort is rarely used in herbal medicine today, but it was once recommended as a remedy for rupture, rheumatism and dropsy. It has also been recommended as a cure for headaches. Grigson (1958) states that 'it was long in repute as an inward or outward vulnerary, taken also in wine against ruptures'.