Galium aparine

Other pictures of this plant:

               Seedpod                                           Leaf                                            Stem                                        Seed                                          Habit

Facts About this Plant:

    Common Names: Cleavers, Clivers, Bedstraw, Goosegrass, Catchweed, Stickyweed, Sticky Bob, Stickybud, Stickyback, Robin-Run-the-Hedge, Sticky Willy, Sticky Willow, Stickyjack, Stickeljack, Grip Grass, Sticky Grass, Bobby Buttons, Velcro Plant
    Synonyms: Galium spurium, Galium vaillantii
    Lifespan: Annual
    Zones: N/A
    Type: Forb
    Bloom Time: March - June
    Status: Native

Galium aparine, or Cleavers, is a native annual that can be found in the entire continental United States. It is considered by many to be a nuisance, in no small part due to its sticky leaves, which tend to grab onto shoes and pants and stick right to them. The plant comes up in the fall and overwinters as a small seedling, which sometimes begins to grow larger, depending on how cold the winter is; then, in early spring, they grow quickly and bloom, sending sprawling stems out over the ground; after blooming, the plants form seed pods that are just small balls which fall to the ground by mid summer, paving the way for the next year's crop.

There are many species of Galium in the US, but this one can fairly easily be distinguished by the following features:

  • its long, sprawling stems
  • its very sticky, clingy stems
  • its small, white flowers
  • its annual nature
  • its leaves being in whorls of 6 - 9
  • its narrow, lance-shaped leaves

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