Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Cleavers

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Cleavers.

Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week - Cleavers.

This week's Isles of Scilly Wildflower Of The Week was Cleavers - Galium Aparine. 

This tall scrambling plant is easily spread by birds, people and animals, so is found everywhere apart from the Western Rocks and Norrards. It is even found on tiny islets.

Cleavers is a bedstraw so has leaves in a whorl, small flowers and a four angled stem. Some members of this family don't have these characteristics, but they don't grow in the UK. Cleavers' flowers are tiny with four white petals. The two round seeds are covered with hooked bristles. The rest of the plant has backward pointing tiny prickles. It can grow up to 10 foot. A plant born to cling. 

The botanical name, Galium Aparine, means milk and to seize. The seizing is self-explanatory. Cleavers has been used by shepherds to strain hairs out of sheep's milk. It has many common names. 

Children like to throw the plant as it sticks to clothing and hair. Be warned contact can make some people come up in a rash, although the juice has been used in traditional medicine to treat skin problems, wounds, mild burns and ulcers. A tea can be made out of Cleavers as an internal cleanser, and the pulp to relieve the symptoms of poisonous bites and stings. 

Cleavers or as another common name suggests, Goosegrass, is a favourite food of geese. In some areas it is fed to goslings after they have hatched.

There are lots of reports of dogs, and horses, eating it. The general belief is that the dogs know that Cleavers is good for their digestion and are particularly fond of the fresh growth in spring.

You can listen to Liz's Wildflower Of The Week below and Liz will have a brand new wildflower for you next Wednesday at 10:30am.