Galium aparine – Cleavers

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Cleavers (Galium aparine) are a native, edible plant in the coffee family. There are about 20 species in the Galium genus that grow in New England. All Galiums are edible and medicinal.
Cleavers are named for their ability to cling to adjacent objects. They have 6-8 leaves per whorl. The plant produces greenish white flowers with four lobes in the summer.
Cleavers are a great winter plant to know as they can still grow in freezing temperatures. Cleaver tips can be boiled and buttered as a vegetable. They can be puréed into a sauce, soup, or pesto. The seeds can be ground to make a coffee substitute.
Cleavers have also been used medicinally to aide in weight loss and improve kidney function.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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