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Galium aparine
Galium aparine in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium
Species: G. aparine
Binomial name
Galium aparine
L.

Galium aparine is a herbaceous annual plant of the family Rubiaceae. It is native to North America and Eurasia. It has several common names, including Cleavers, Clivers, Goosegrass, Stickywilly, Stickyweed, Catchweed, Robin-run-the-hedge and Coachweed.

Contents

Growth

The long stems of this climbing plant sprawl over the ground and other plants, reaching heights of 1-1.5 m, occasionally 2 m. The leaves are simple and borne in whorls of six to eight. Both leaves and stem have fine hairs tipped with tiny hooks, making them cling to clothes and fur much like velcro. The white to greenish flowers are 2-3 mm across, with four petals.

It flowers in early spring to summer, with the flowers occurring in most of the leaf nodes. The fruits are clustered 1-3 seeds together; each seed is 4-6 mm diameter, and is also covered with hooked hairs (a burr) which cling to animal fur, aiding in seed dispersal.

It is a common weed in hedges and other low shrubby vegetation, and is also a common weed in arable fields, as well as gardens. As they grow quite rampantly and thickly, they end up shading out any small plants that they overrun.

The seeds are similar size to cereal grains, and so are a common contaminant in cereals since they are difficult to filter out. The presence of some seed in cereals is not considered a serious problem as they are not toxic.

Uses

When dried and roasted, the fruits of this plant can be used to make a coffee-like drink. The plant can also be made into a tea.

Herbalism

The plant was traditionally used to treat skin diseases. It is a diuretic and vulnerary. Herbalists use it to lower blood pressure and body temperature, as well as for cystitis.[1]

The whole plant is considered rich in vitamin C. Its roots produce a red dye, and the tea has been used as an anti-perspirant (by the Chinese), and as a relief for head colds (home remedy), restlessness, and sunburns. As a pulp, it has been used to relieve poisonous bites. [2]

Edibility

Galium aparine W.jpg

Galium aparine is edible. The numerous small hooks which cover the plant and give it its clinging nature make it unfit to be eaten raw. However boiled as a leaf vegetable before the fruits appear it makes tolerable eating. [3] [4]

Notes

  1. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987) pp. 145-6
  2. ^ Jones, Pamela. Just Weeds: History, Myths, and Uses. Prentice Hall Press, New York. 1991.
  3. ^ R. Mabey, Food for Free
  4. ^ Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West, Gregory L. Tilford, ISBN 0-87842-359-1

External links


Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Galium aparine

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Gentianales
Familia: Rubiaceae
Subfamilia: Rubioideae
Tribus: Rubieae
Genus: Galium
Species: Galium aparine

Name

Galium aparine Linnaeus

References

  • Species Plantarum 108.

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Kletten-Labkraut
English: Cleavers
Français: Gaillet gratteron
Gàidhlig: Garbh-lus
Русский: Подмаренник цепкий







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