Galium aparine (‘aparine’ from Greek ‘apairo – “lay hold of” or “seize”) with many common names including cleavers and goosegrass, is an annual, with creeping straggling stems which branch and grow along the ground and over other plants. They attach themselves with the small hooked hairs which grow out of the stems and leaves. The stems can reach up to three feet or longer, and are angular or square shaped. The leaves are simple, narrowly oblanceolate to linear, and borne in whorls of six to eight.
Cleavers have tiny, star-shaped, white to greenish flowers, which emerge from early spring to summer. The flowers are clustered in groups of two or three, and are borne out of the leaf axils. The corolla bears 4 petals. The globular fruits are burrs which grow one to three seeds clustered together; they are covered with hooked hairs which cling to animal fur, aiding in seed dispersal.