Cleavers

  • Irish name: Garbhlus

  • Scientific name: Galium Aparine

The scientific name Galium Aparine is from Greek ÔÇťApairo, meaning take hold of or seize. There are many common names including cleavers, bedstraw, goosegrass, catchweed,s tickybob etc. The plant can be found growing in hedges, waste ground and as a garden weed. Cleavers are annuals with creeping straggling stems which branch and grow along the ground and also creep over other vegetation. They attach themselves with small hooked hairs which grow out of stems and leaves. The stems can reach anywhere from 3 feet to 4 feet or longer. The species is widespread over Europe. Ancient Greek shepherds would use the barbed stems of cleavers to make a rough sieve , which would then be used to strain milk. In Europe the dried matted foliage of the plant was used to stuff mattresses. The roots of cleavers can be used to make a permanent red dye.