Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Cleavers - Galium aparine   L.
Members of Rubiaceae:
Members of Galium with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Rubiales » Family Rubiaceae
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AuthorL.
DistributionEssentially throughout, but scarce to absent near near the coast.

Widespread across the continent, though scarce in the southern half of FL.
AbundanceCommon to locally very common across the Mountains, Piedmont, and the western half of the Coastal Plain. Frequent in most of the Coastal Plain, but rare to absent close to the coast.
HabitatThis has a wide array of habitats. It is most often found in rich soil of bottomlands and moist forested slopes, but it also occurs in some meadows, and disturbed areas. It favors moist to rich soil. It can be weedy on some forested slopes and bottomlands, especially where recent disturbances have occurred.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits soon after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a vine-like herb with a weak stem that trails along the ground or leans on other vegetation; it reaches 2-3' long. This Galium has strongly retrorse hairs along the stem and is thus scabrous to the touch and painful if you run you fingers along the stem. The whorled leaves are usually in 8's (6-8), each leaf being linear to oblanceolate and about 1.5" long but only 1/6" wide. Clusters of tiny white flowers grow from the leaf axils. In this species, the fruits are small and bristly. This is a very familiar woodland species of moist soil, often sprawling over spring ephemeral wildflowers, and should be easily found at that season.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Sticky-willy, Catchweed Bedstraw, Goosegrass. This is probably the only native Galium that does not have its most often used common name as "xxxxx Bedstraw".
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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