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AKA: Catchweed Bedstraw, Cleaverwort, Clivers, Goosegrass, Gripgrass, Scarthgrass, Stickywilly, Velcro Plant, White Hedge, bobby buttons, goosegrass, gollenweed, sweethearts (because of its clinging habit), kisses, sticky willy, claggy meggies and robin-run-the-hedge.

Propagation: When it has a sturdy base to climb, it can grow up to 6 feet tall, adorned with small greenish-white flowers. Tiny bristles on the leaves enable cleavers to cling to other plants and become easily stuck on clothes and fur. They flower, mainly from June to August and are self-pollinated. Seed is set from July to October. Seed viability in soil is reported to be limited to 2-3 years.

*** Fresh Cleavers plant can cause a severe contact dermatitis for some people. Wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting Cleavers. Strain infusions and tinctures of uncooked Cleavers carefully to avoid throat irritation. ***

Folklore/History: It is originally native to Europe, parts of Northern Africa and also wide areas of temperate Asia. Cleavers was used as a love medicine by one Native American tribe. The infusion of plant was used as a bath by women who wished to be successful in love. A red dye is obtained from a decoction of the root, it is said to dye bones red. Northern bedstraw (G. boreale), common marsh bedstraw (G. palustre), and goosegrass (G. aparine) are common throughout Europe and have become naturalized in parts of North America. The roots of several species of Galium yield a red dye, and many were used historically to stuff mattresses, hence their common name. Dioscorides, a Greek physician of the 1st century CE, considered it useful for countering weariness, and described how shepherds used the stems to make sieves for straining milk.

Medicinal: support the immune system and have diuretic, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory effects, used on skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, used to treat Lymph swelling, Jaundice, open wounds, bug bites, coffee substitute, promote healthy kidney function, immune booster, Fertility booster, an antioxidant, Astringent, Febrifuge, a treatment for some cancers have been studied and found to be beneficial. French research in 1947 found that an extract of the plant appeared to lower blood pressure.

Spiritual: Binding, commitment, protection, tenacity, Love

Summary: This cute little plant, considered a noxious weed in a lot of places, is so crammed with healthy goodness that it’s hard not to like the clingy little thing. Although it needs to be handled with care when foraging, you can’t help but wonder if this medicinally action-packed weed should be a part of everyone’s daily diet. As always, talk to your doctor before using these types of plants, to ensure it will not counteract with any chronic medications you are currently taking. I love researching plants and learning new ways that can possibly help improve mine and my family’s health. Although these posts are definitely not all inclusive, they at least provide everyone with a starting point to find what works for you. There is so much information out there and I encourage to continue your journey into learning ways our ancestors used “medicine” back before pharmaceuticals came into being and how they are still relevant and applicable to our lives today! Happy foraging!

Sources of Info:

The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies; The Healing Power of Plant Medicine by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH

Tamed Wild Apothecary; Wild Medicine –

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