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Galium aparine (Stickywilly)
Cressler, Alan

Galium aparine

Galium aparine L.

Stickywilly, Catchweed Bedstraw, Cleavers, Common Bedstraw, Sticky Weed, Goose Grass

Rubiaceae (Madder Family)

Synonym(s): Galium agreste var. echinospermum, Galium aparine ssp. spurium, Galium aparine var. echinospermum, Galium aparine var. intermedium, Galium aparine var. minor, Galium aparine var. vaillantii, Galium spurium, Galium spurium var. echinospermum, Galium spurium var. vaillantii, Galium spurium var. vaillantii, Galium vaillantii

USDA Symbol: GAAP2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (I?), GL (I?)

A weak-stemmed, reclining plant with backward-booked bristles on stems and leaves, and clusters of 1-3 (usually 2) very small white flowers on stalks rising from whorled leaf axils.

The common name is appropriate since the bristles cause the stems, leaves, and fruits to cleave to clothes and the fur of animals. The fact that geese eat the plants accounts for the other common name. The plants are also known as Bedstraws, since the pleasant smelling foliage of a yellow-flowered species (G. verum) was used to stuff mattresses in medieval times.


From the Image Gallery

23 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual
Habit: Herb , Vine
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: Stems scrambling or prostrate, with prickly hairs, up to about 5 feet long.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Hairy nutlets.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AK , AL , AR , AZ , CA , CO , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , ID , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , MT , NC , ND , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NV , NY , OH , OK , OR , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV , WY
Canada: NB , PE
Native Distribution: Throughout North America, except Northwest Territories and Newfoundland.
Native Habitat: Reclining on bushes in woods and thickets.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Shade
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Sibley Nature Center - Midland, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
Patsy Glenn Refuge, c/o Wimberley Birding Society - Wimberley, TX
Stengl Biological Research Station - Smithville, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 0089 Collected Mar. 28, 1991 in Bexar County by Mollie Walton
NPSOT 0734 Collected Mar 8, 1993 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0825 Collected Mar 12, 1994 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Web Reference

Webref 36 - Jepson eFlora (2019) The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Galium aparine in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Galium aparine in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Galium aparine


Record Modified: 2023-05-15
Research By: TWC Staff

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