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Cleavers

(Galium aparine)

Other Names:

Catchweed, Clivers, Goosegrass, Gripgrass, Stickyweed, Stickywillow, Stickywilly, Velcro Weed

Range:

Family:

Rubiaceae Bedstraw family

Identifying characteristics:

Growth Type:

An herbaceous annual.

Height:

Can reach a length of 3 feet or longer.

Leaves:

The simple leaves are borne in whorls of 6 to 8. The leaves and stems have tiny hairs topped with little hooks, which can attach to your clothes like Velcro.

Stem/Trunk:

Single erect stem with tiny hooked hairs.

Root:

N/A

Flower:

Season:

Early Spring to Summer

Appearance:

Tiny 4 petaled white flowers bloom in early spring to summer.

Seed/Fruit:

The seeds which appear in early to mid summer are also topped with hooked hairs that disperse by clinging to animal fur.

Miscellaneous characteristics:

The common name Cleavers come from the small hooked hairs which run along the stem, leaves, and seeds. These hairs act like Velcro and can become attached to your clothes. If you have ever walked through the forest, you have probably had to pick small triangular seed pods off your clothes.

Habitat:

Rich moist woodland soils

Parts Used:

Leaves, stems, seeds

Uses:

Wild Food Uses:

The leaves and stems can be used as a cooked fruit. Cooking removes the characteristic hooked hairs. A tea can be brewed from the aerial parts of the plant. The seeds can also be roasted, then brewed into a coffee substitute.

The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.

Medicinal Uses:

The plant was traditionally used to soothe and treat skin diseases. It is also used to lower blood pressure, fever, and cystitis. The whole plant is considered rich in vitamin C, and can be used to combat scurvy. The Chinese have used Cleavers as an antiperspirant. They have also been used to relieve head colds, restlessness, and sunburns. As a pulp, it has been used to relieve poisonous bites and stings.

Medicinal Actions:

Anti-inflammatory, Antitoxin, Demulcent, Depurative, Diuretic, Emollient, Febrifuge, Hypotensive, Nervine, Vulnerary

 
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Revised: 05/11/16 Living Afield