Low, sprawling, sometimes semi-erect, plant with
square stems. Leaves 1-3 inches long and narrow with a
pointy tip, in whorls of 4-8 around the stem. Flowers
tiny, white, usually 1-3 in a cluster, with 4 petals.
Fruits tiny green burs. Leaves, stems and fruits covered
with sharp, stiff, curved hairs that enable the plant to stick
like Velcro to clothes and skin.
Native. Likes shady to partly sunny areas in
woods and thickets. Occasional in open areas of the Park.
The genus Galium is distinctive
with its whorled leaves, four-petaled flowers, and
square stems. Among members of this genus only
cleavers and rough bedstraw (G. asprellum) have pure white flowers and
prickly stems and leaves. Rough bedstraw has smaller
(less than 1 inch) leaves and more flowers in each cluster.