Galium aparine is a common plant that is also known as catchweed bedstraw. This broadleaf plant can be a winter annual as well as a summer annual and is a very hardy species. It is often found in orchards, crop fields, yards, and gardens. This weed can be a food source for some beneficial insects. It is also known to harbor overwintering aphids which can wreak havoc on other plants. One of the key characteristics of catchweed bedstraw is its nasty habit of sticking to anything or anyone that brushes against it. In commercial crop production, catchweed bedstraw has been known to get entangled with farming equipment which can slow down the harvest, so it’s essential for farmers to remove with sound weed control practices. It also can be painful to pets if its burr-like seed pods get entangled in their fur.
This plant originated in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. Now Galium aparine Weed is widespread and has become naturalized in most of the world, including the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is considered a noxious weed by most government agricultural agencies and measures to control it have been conducted around the globe.
The stems of this plant are square-shaped and often unbranched which gives the weed a creeping straggling look. Mature plants will have stems that reach up to three feet. The overall height of the mature plant is around three feet tall. Leaves of the plant are green to pale green in color and are narrow in shape. The leaves are clustered in groups of six to eight. This weed flowers and produces star-shaped flowers that can be white or greenish. They will begin blooming in early spring to summer and cluster together in groups of two to three. This plant produces a burr-like fruit that is global in shape. The fruit looks like appendages that can catch in clothing, animal fur, and just about any surface that comes in contact. This is how the plant spread its seeds to ensure future plant growth.