Galium aparine
Cleavers (Galium aparine) are a common, widespread annual weed found throughout New Zealand. A significant weed of cereal and horticultural crops and often found scrambling up fencelines and hedgerows Cleavers have a scrambling, clambering growth habit and “stickiness” due to tiny hooks on its stems and seeds.

Commonly called bedstraw, Cleavers (Galium aparine) is a common annual weed found in crops, gardens, hedgerows and waste places throughout New Zealand. With its scrambling growth habit, cleavers can compete and smother slow growing crops like fodder beet. With its inherent stickiness the leaves, stems and seeds can cling to human clothing.


  • Apex notched
  • Base rounded
  • Short-stalked


  • Lanceolate, broad in front, tapered at the base
  • Whorled

Germinating in the autumn through to the spring, cleavers can growth up to a metre in fertile soils. With hooks on the stems, it can scramble over and up crops and can be commonly seen climbing up hedgerows.

The leaves grow in distinctive whorls on weak stems that are easily broken. The seeds are round and initially green changing to a purplish colour. They have bristles which readily stick to animal fur and human clothing.

Related Pests