IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Cleavers is the most common Galium sp. (Bedstraw) in Illinois. Other common names for Galium aparine include Goosegrass and Annual Bedstraw. It is a rather weedy plant with insignificant flowers. Cleavers has up to 8 leaves per whorl, while other Bedstraws usually have only 4 or 6 leaves per whorl. The carpels, leaves, and stems of Cleavers have an abundance of stiff hairs that can cling readily to clothing, fur, or adjacent vegetation; this distinguishes it from about one-half of the other Bedstraws, which have smooth to slightly rough carpels and foliage. Another species with white flowers, Galium mollugo (Hedge Bedstraw), has whorls of 6-8 leaves like Cleavers. However, Hedge Bedstraw has smooth carpels and foliage and it produces a large terminal inflorescence with an abundance of flowers. In the past, various Bedstraws were used to curdle milk in the production of cheese because the foliage is somewhat acidic.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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