Galium aparine
Galium aparine Dr Otto
Galium aparine
from Flora von Deutschland Österreich und der Schweiz. 1885.
by Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé
Common Names
cleavers, goosegrass, bedstraw, stickywilly
Scientific classification
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium
Species: aparine
Nativity and duration
Native to: North America, Eurasia
Duration: herbaceous annual


Cleavers can creep along the ground and along the tops of other plants.  They have tiny hooks on their leaves and stems that cause them to cleave (hence the common name) to almost anything as if they were made of Velcro.

Aside from their "grabby" nature (as Green Deane points out at "You don’t find Goosegrass. It finds you.") you can identify this plant by its:

  • bright green color
  • square-shaped stems
  • narrow, lanceolate to oblanceolate leaves in whorls of six or eight
  • spacing between each set of whorls on the stem


Cleavers is edible raw or cooked.  However, due to the hooks, people sometimes find the raw texture offputing.

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