Galium aparine (cleavers)
Galium aparine (Photo: Wolfgang Stuppy)
Galium aparine L.
cleavers, clivers, goosegrass, kisses, stickyweed, stickybud, sticky willy
Not threatened - this species is widespread and often considered a weed.
Common in hedgerows and field margins, native on scree slopes and shingle, and as a weed in gardens and wasteland.
The whole plant is edible, though not particularly tasty; it is also reputed to have a number of medicinal properties.
The sap and hooked hairs (which are bristly to touch) can cause contact dermatitis.
About this species
This climber is well known by children for its 'stickiness', owing to its covering of hooked hairs. There is a rather cruel Scottish children's game involving this plant. The trick is to persuade somebody to allow a piece of it to be put in their mouth - then pull it out fast. The hooks being rather sharp, the game is called 'bleedy tongues'! Galium aparine is also well known by herbalists for its medicinal properties.