Cleavers

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

cleavers

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….

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