scale bar = 1cm.
Cleavers - introduced (*Galium aparine)
Family: Rubiaceae (Woodruff family).
Native of Europe.
Other names: Clivers, Goosefoot.
Occurrence: A widespread weed, particularly in disturbed
areas. It also invades bushland.
- it is an annual sprawling plant with stems several millimetres across
- the stems are square in section, with small hooked bristles on the corners
- the flowers are small and white
- the leaves are in whorls of 6 (i.e. they are in groups, radiating from
the stem like spokes on a wheel)
- the fruit are kidney-shaped, and covered with hooked bristles,which help in seed dispersal.
Strictly, the leaves are paired. What appears to be the other leaves are stipules. The flowers rise from the leaf bases, not the stipule bases.
Similar species: There are several native Galium species. They
are more slender, with stems about a millimetre in diameter.
Photos 1: Cleavers showing the whorled leaves and paired fruit. Castlemaine.
2: Cleavers climbing a tree trunk. Castlemaine Botanic Gardens.
3: Cleavers can form a dense clump The hooked bristles can cling to other parts of the plant. Gingell St, Castlemaine.