Weeds: Catchweed bedstraw (Cleavers) – Galium aparine

categories: C-E Weeds

revision date: 2024-06-22 07:45

  • Family: Rubiaceae
  • Cycle: Annual
  • Plant type: Broadleaf
Catchweed bedstraw leaf whorls.
Catchweed bedstraw leaf whorls
Photo by: T.W. Miller


Catchweed bedstraw is a weakly erect to sprawling plant from a slender taproot. Stems are weak, climbing or twining to over six feet in length. The stems are square in cross-section with short, downward-pointing bristles along the ridges. Narrow leaves occur in whorls of six to eight, with backward-pointing bristles along the leaf margins. Small, four-petalled, white flowers are produced on short stems in the leaf axils. Fruits consist of two nearly round structures joined along the center. The seeds are covered with hooked hairs which aid in dispersal. This plant spreads only by seeds, but a related species (northern bedstraw, Galium boreale) is a perennial with a spreading root system. SPECIAL INFORMATION: The clinging seeds and stems of catchweed bedstraw can be a nuisance on animals or in clothing.


Catchweed bedstraw is often found in uncultivated areas such as along fencerows, under trees, or in brushy areas. From there, the plant can spread into gardens, fields, ornamental plantings, and other cultivated sites.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply according to label directions.
  • Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only!
  • Not a problem in healthy established turf.
  • NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination.
  • Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.

Landscape areas

  • glyphosate

Turf areas

  • No products approved for use in turf.

Bare ground areas

  • glyphosate

Additional Images