Galium aparine (Sticky-willy)
|Also known as:||Cleavers, Catchweed Bedstraw, Goose-grass|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods, thickets|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||4 to 40 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stem:
Leaves are whorled in groups of 6 to 8, narrow, ¾ to 3½ inches long and less than ½ inch wide, broadest towards the tip, with a spine-like sharp point at the tip. The stem is square. The leaves and stem are covered with hooked hairs (see the flower photo above for a better close-up) that latch onto anything that brushes against them. Stems are weak and few-branched, the plant sometimes erect but more often sprawling, or climbing up surrounding vegetation.
The common name Sticky-willy is appropriate—the hooked hairs on leaves, stems and fruit grab onto anything that brush by, mostly shoelaces, socks and pant legs. A similar species is Rough Bedstraw (Galium asprellum), which is much more heavily branched, has shorter leaves whorled in 4 to (mostly) 6, smooth fruit, more flowers in a cluster, and is primarily a wetland species
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?