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Heath Bedstraw

This is a slender looking bedstraw which scrambles around other plants or forms lanky mats of green and white. It is abundant in the acid soil of moors, heathland, woods and grassland and can be seen growing all over Scotland. 

A close relation of the Cleaver, it has similar leaf-whorls of 5 to 8 at intervals along the thin stems. The stems themselves are squareish, but smooth to the touch, unlike Cleaver stems which are rougher and stick to clothing. 

The leaves are narrow blunt ovals, 7 to 10mm long, with an unbroken edge, but rough and hairy, often with a single short bristle at the tip. 

Tiny white flowers, about 3mm in diameter, grow in rounded clusters, sometimes 2 clusters to a stalk, which arises from a leaf node. Just before each flower cluster a whorl of small bracts appears, resembling the leaves. 

The flowers have 4 oval pointed white petals arranged in a cross shape. When in bud they can have a pinkish hue. 4 white stamens with yellow anthers protrude a little from the middle of the corolla. These curve inwards slightly, bowing in reverence to the gynaecium which has 2 styles. 

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