Monthly Archives: February 2014


Yet another great close-up from Nic Cairns, this time a young shoot of Cleavers from Ecoworks Community Garden…….


Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a very common plant, also known as Stickyweed or Goosegrass, and is known for its stickiness, caused by its numerous hooked hairs – which are visible in Nick’s photo.

The plant is also of interest to foragers; all parts are edible, and it is perhaps best cooked like spinach, when it is young and tender in the early spring.  It also has a long tradition of medicinal use for treating a variety of ailments, and it is used today by medical herbalists; see here for a recipe for Cleavers Tea, which is a cleansing tonic for the lymphatic system.

If you’d like to forage for cleavers, you’ll find it in all sorts of places – hedges, fields, and wastelands – and the best time to start looking for it is now, when the young, green growth is starting….


Hazel female flowers

To accompany his photo of Hazel catkins from a couple of weeks ago, Nic Cairns has contributed an image of the female flowers….

hazel flower

The female flowers are much smaller and less conspicuous than the prominent male catkins, but quite striking when spotted.  They will be pollinated via wind by another Hazel, (an individual plant cannot self-pollinate), and will then develop into the familiar nuts.

Thanks to Nic for the photo, taken at Ecoworks Community Garden.