Saturday, April 24, 2010

Weed of the Week: Sticky Willy

This pesky, clinging, climbing weed grows abundantly all over the yard.

However, it turns out that the sticky little fellow is not only prolific but also useful. I will try to complain less when the myriad, minuscule hooks lining the stems and leaves attach themselves to whatever is available, including gardeners -- just trying to do a little weeding -- who find themselves caught in big tangles of the stuff.

Sticky Willy (Galium aparine), also called Cleavers, Goose Grass, Catchweed Bedstraw or Common Bedstraw (because a closely related plant was used in medieval times to stuff mattresses), and, in modern times, Velcro Plant (for obvious reasons), has numerous healing properties known to herbalists, and its seeds can be ground up as a coffee substitute (it is actually related to the Arabian coffee plant).

If civilization collapses we can live off the backyard, at least for awhile.

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