Cleavers, also known as Bedstraw, Catchweed and Stickyweed (Galium Aparine) is an annual forb in the Coffee Family (Rubiaceae). It’s native to North America, northern Africa and Eurasia, blooms Mar-Jun and grows 0.5-1.5 ft. It’s commonly found in forest edges and openings, savannas and wetlands; likes moist to dry soils and full shade to full sun exposure.
Cleavers is a native that might be undesirable in stream and wetland restoration; it forms thick carpets and climbs up and pulls down on newly planted trees and shrubs. Is normal to see cleavers replace dead Reed Canary Grass and Blackberry after herbicide applications. Cleavers’ fruit has been used as a substitute for coffee and contains less caffeine. The leaves and stems are edible cooked, before the fruit appears. Galium Aparine is believed to be both native and introduced in southern Canada and it’s the most common of the cleavers. Other cleavers can be found in nice undisturbed forests.