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Cleavers

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn Spring Spring Summer Summer Winter Winter

Useful as a food in the past and just as good today as it can be found year round.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Cleavers, Goosegrass, Sticky Willies
Scientific Name Galium aparine
Season Start Jan
Season End Dec
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

Small, thin, hairy, green leaves growing in small rosettes along the vertical stem.

Flowers

Tiny, white, four petaled flowers.

Seeds

Small round hook laden seeds that will stick to you or your dog if brushed past.

Stem

Has a square stem covered in many tiny hooks.

Habitat

Hedges, path and roadsides, waste ground and woodland.

Possible Confusion

Quite difficult to confuse with anything else.

Taste

Edible when very young or cooked, if a little fibrous and bitter. Should be eaten before the seeds appear in summer but can be found all year round.

Collecting

Just the fresh looking tops should be picked or wait until the seeds have fully hardened, roast and use as a coffee substitute.

Other Facts

Annoying other kids in the playground.
It has also been used to strain hairs from milk.

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