This is so exciting! I have heard so many stories and legends about this flower, but I never actually saw it before. This is Galium Verum, Lady’s Bedstraw, the flower of St. John, a plant so deeply associated with the summer solstice that some even believe it only blooms on the Eve of St. John’s Feast. That part is obviously not true.
According to folklore, these pretty yellow flowers are in fact benevolent fairies in disguise, who stroll and dance through the forests and fields on the eve of the holiday to bless people with good health and crops with strength, fertility and plenty. They are good fairies alright, but they get really upset if their favorite feast is not observed, and they promptly and severely punish people for working on this day. It is supposed to be particularly bad for males to walk out at night on the Eve of Saint John, because the flower fairies don’t want to be seen or talked about, so they will curse the daring who defy them by taking away their ability to speak.
In the old days, women used to put Lady’s Bedstraw in their babies’ baths and wish upon the flowers to keep them happy and strong, help them grow faster, and protect them from getting sick, especially with malaria, but their wish was granted only if the plant was picked before the first rays of sun dried up the dew. Said dew was also surmised to treat eye and skin afflictions.
Lady’s Bedstraw is inextricably bound to superstitions related to love and fertility, and even to this day young girls place its flowers under their pillows on the night between June 23rd and June 24th to dream up the face of their true love.
On the eve of the feast young maidens go out into the fields to pick the flowers, which they braid into crowns and wear upon their return to the village at nightfall, because the blossoms picked on this day are believed to be imbued with power for love charms. In fact folk tradition assigns magical properties to all things associated with this holiday, that grace to its timing evokes similarities to Midsummer night, and especially to the pretty meadow flowers whose bloom happens to synchronize with it.
What a wealth of symbolism and lore for a modest wild summer herb! On a more scientific note, Lady’s Bedstraw contains coumarin, just like sweet woodruff, which means it smells like vanilla and fresh hay, so, by all means, go out, pick some, weave it into crowns, throw it on the roof, but make sure it doesn’t fall off, ‘cause that’s really bad luck, and don’t mess with the fairies, they’ll get your tongue!

Author's Bio: 

Main Areas: Garden Writing; Sustainable Gardening; Homegrown Harvest
Published Books: “Terra Two”; “Generations”; "The Plant - A Steampunk Story"; "Letters to Lelia"; "Fair"; "Door Number Eight" ; "A Year and A Day"
Career Focus: Author; Consummate Gardener;
Affiliation: All Year Garden; The Weekly Gardener; Francis Rosenfeld's Blog

I started blogging in 2010, to share the joy of growing all things green and the beauty of the garden through the seasons. Two garden blogs were born: and, a periodical that followed it one year later. I wanted to assemble an informal compendium of the things I learned from my grandfather, wonderful books, educational websites, and my own experience, in the hope that other people might use it in their own gardening practice.