Synonyms: Galium agreste var. echinospermum, Galium aparine ssp. spurium, Galium aparine var. aparine, Galium aparine var. echinospermum, Galium aparine var. intermedium, Galium aparine var. minor, Galium aparine var. vaillantii, Galium spurium, Galium spurium, Galium spurium var. echinospermum, Galium spurium var. vaillantii, Galium vaillantii
The photo above shows clearlly the square stems and whorled leaves of annual bedstraw, as well as the tiny hooked hairs that are at the corneres of the square stems and along the leaf margins.
A somewhat weedy species, annual bedstraw or cleavers is easily recognized due to the velcro-like nature of the hooked hairs found all over the square stems and slender leaves. It is an annual with weak, often lax stems. The stems range from 10-100 cm long. The whorls of leaves usually contain 6-8 thin , 1-nerved leaves from 1-4 cm in length.
The inflorescence is small, usually 3-5 flowered and are found arising from a leaf axil. The head of flowers may themselves be subtended by a whorl of small leaves. The minute corollas are greenish-white, 4-lobed, and 1-2 mm wide. The fruit are 2-4 mm long, consisting of 2 globose structures joined in the middle, and covered with numerous hooked hairs which may hitch rides with animals or humans who walk through.
Cleavers is found in open woods which are often somewhat disturbed.
A wide-ranging plant, cleavers is found over much of the world. It is now common over much of temperate North America.
In the Columbia River Gorge, it may be found from the west to east ends between 100'-3600'.