Cleavers…Stick or Twist?

Here I am demonstrating the special sticky qualities of sticky willy, aka cleavers or goose grass (Galium aparine), from the coffee family (Rubiaceae). Cleavers is a renowned edible and medicinal plant, growing almost everywhere in the UK.cleavers

As an edible its really only good at this time of year, in the spring. As a food, I use just the tops as the rest of the plant below the new growth is very fibrous and stringy. Cleavers has a slight bitterness,  with a subtle flavour (to me) of peas. In fact, the part I enjoy the most are these tiny microgreen seedlings.IMG_1921

As a medicine its a plant used to help the lymphatic system.Many herbalists I know rate this plant highly, especially useful in the spring to help shift the stagnant energies of winter, and the toxins that may build up in the lymph glands. used with dandelion and burdock, you will be covering many bodily system bases.

Lets get this right, there are few native medicinal plants that are better employed on the lymph system, and there are dozens of food plants that are far tastier than this one, even in the genus…Exhibit one…hedge bedstraw (Galium mollugo)hedge bedstraw

This plant doesnt have the bristly hooked hairs all over the stem. It has fine hairs on the leaves, but to eat, this plant has a much better texture, and a much finer pea flavour. Although it is far less common than its sister plant, it can be commonly found…And I’ll stick to this one for salads!

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