View Full Version : cleavers

04-11-2010, 09:01 PM
pretty sure i found the read thing here
somehow i deleted the area/clump pics, will get more tmmw

i'll grab some samples and put them side by side with the lookaike from the woodruff thread

a few close-ups for now






04-11-2010, 11:51 PM
definitely a cleaver. with 617 known species in the Genus Galium, i couldn't tell you which, but it hardly matters. I don't think any of them are toxic, and they pretty much all get called cleaver or bed-straw.

04-12-2010, 06:02 AM
I agree that it's definately cleavers.

04-12-2010, 09:32 AM
The long stems of this climbing plant sprawl over the ground and other plants, reaching heights of 1-1.5 m, occasionally 2 m.


i'll wait until it gets a little bigger for food purposes
found this next to catnip(?)
this wilts pretty fast, so i may just take pics for side by side comparison(s)

04-12-2010, 10:03 PM
yep. the seedpods on the bedstraw around here look just like that.. which reminds me I need to take some updated pics of it.
I'm enjoying following your albums and learning progress. Thanks for including us!

04-12-2010, 10:38 PM
So, are the little downward pointing spikes and square stem what single this out as cleavers? Or, How do you guys know it's cleavers?

I think I found the same thing today when harvesting some spring beauty roots.

04-13-2010, 06:19 AM
there are a couple things that seperate it. The hooks on the whorls of lanceolate leaves and stems are a big indicator, the really tiny flowers in clusters in the leaf axils. A side by side with the woodruff will show a few more differences. woodruff has leaves that are more spatulate (a little wider at the ends).
When making observations about a plant you want to write down every detail you can see with the naked eye. you don't have to use all the botanist terms, like "spatulate" or "oblanceolate".. just use regular words that are easy to relate. "Longest leaves around 2.5" long by 1/4" wide". When you put it like that and compare your descriptions you'll notice things like the "woodruff longest leaves 2" long by 1/2" wide with spade shaped tips" (I made these numbers up as my notebook is outside in the truck atm). Or clovers vs. wood-sorrel is things like noticing the rings on clover leaflets and the heart-shaped leaflets of wood-sorrel compared to "club" shaped clover. It's easiest to get a positive ID while a plant is in flower, and once you have that positive ID further study the plant itself. woodruff is more spade-shaped with pointed tips, while bedstraw is more "sword-shaped". some stems appear square, or even feel square, so you cut the stem and find out it is really 3 or 6 sided, or not square at all, but rather "grooved" as in the corners are rounded but the 'sides' are indented. In this case it's the hooks, grooved stem, and leaf shape that to me matches the picture I've commited to memory. Some of the biggest differences between plants won't be seen without dissecting it or taking a "cross section"

I picked up a 5x hand lens on a lanyard at Rite-Aid for around $4 that has a smaller lens on it that magnifies 12x for looking into tiny flowers like this. I recommend getting one of those or a better one, but it should be small enough to fit in a pocket or on a necklace in your shirt. A cloth tape measure is also handy if you cut off about 12" to keep in your pocket, or even mark your lanyard on your hand lens every inch.

I hope I've answered your question.. I might have confused you more lol.

04-13-2010, 10:08 AM
No, that's a good answer YCC. It definitely helps. IN fact I did cut the stem as I read it was squarish. I took a close up pic of the stem crossection and hooks, but don't have good cropping software to post it here. The stem, after reviewing my picture didn't seem entirely square at all, but more like you just described. Thanks!

04-13-2010, 11:23 AM




04-13-2010, 11:55 AM
there might be, but if it's not in the monograph, it's not, by definition, taxanomically significant.

04-13-2010, 06:17 PM
That's a very interesting observation CG. Good eye.