How to identify Cleavers (= Goosegrass)

Join me in my latest video, ‘How to Identify Cleavers aka Goosegrass (Galium aparine),’ where I provide a detailed guide to recognising this ubiquitous plant.

Known as a cosmopolitan weed, Cleavers is widespread and can be found in various environments worldwide, especially throughout the British Isles and across Europe.

In this video, I’ll take you through the unique characteristics of Cleavers:

  1. STEMS: I start by examining the square stems of Cleavers, notable for their rough texture and prickles pointing backward. This distinctive feature makes it easy to identify the plant in the wild.
  2. LEAVES: Discover how to spot the plant’s leaves, which are 12 to 50 millimeters long and arranged in whorls of 6 to 8 around the stem. I’ll focus on their linear-oblanceolate shape and the small, backward-pointing prickles along the edges.
  3. FLOWERS: Learn about the small groups of 2 to 5 flowers that appear in the axillary regions of the plant. I’ll show you how to identify these unique blossoms where the leaf joins the main stem.
  4. FRUITS: I’ll also discuss the fruits of Cleavers, small in size (4 to 6 millimeters) and covered with distinctive white, hooked bristles.
  5. HABITAT: Understanding the habitat of Cleavers is crucial for identification. I’ll explore the various environments where it thrives, from hedgerows and agricultural areas to stream banks, rocky slopes, and rich, undeveloped lands.
  6. DISTRIBUTION AND FLOWERING SEASON: Finally, I’ll provide insights into the distribution of this plant and its flowering season, which typically spans from April to September.