Low, sprawling, sometimes semi-erect, plant with
square stems. Leaves half to three-quarter inches long, egg-shaped with a
pointy tip, in whorls of 4-8 around the stem. Flowers
tiny, white, usually many in a branching 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 damp shady areas in
woods and thickets. Very common on the western
slope of Wildwood, especially along the trails south of
the first bridge of the Riverway.
The genus Galium is distinctive
with its whorled leaves, four-petaled flowers, and
square stems. Among members of this genus only
cleavers (G. aparine) and rough bedstraw have pure white flowers and
prickly stems and leaves. Cleavers has larger
(over 1 inch) leaves and only 1 to 3 flowers in each cluster..