Cleavers: declared pest

Page last updated: Wednesday, 6 May 2020 - 11:32am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Cleavers, common bedstraw, stickywilly, goosegrass, catchweed bedstraw, robin-run-over-the-hedge, catch weed or scratch grass (Galium aparine) is a declared pest in Western Australia (WA). This article describes the nature of the plant with links to requirements land owners/occupiers must adhere to and pest control methods.

Form: herbaceous climber — annual

Status: present in WA

Native to Europe and western Asia.


Cotyledons: Oval and wider towards the base. The apex is notched.

Stems: Sprawling stems sometimes greater than one metre long. Stems are square (if cut across) and have minute backward pointing prickles on the corners

Leaves: Mature leaves are narrow, with a soft pointed tip, arranged in whorls of six to eight (that is, they are all attached at the same point or node). In mature plant, leaves have fine backward pointing prickles on the margin.

Flowers: Small, four white petals.

Fruit: Globular and densely covered with hooked bristles and produced in pairs; each fruit is three millimetres in diameter.

Agriculture and economic impact

Cleavers (Galium aparine) is regarded as an environmental weed in Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales. It invades a variety of native habitats including dry coastal vegetation, coastal sand dunes, rocky sites, open woodlands, temperate rainforests, wetlands and riparian areas.

This weed commonly occurs in vegetable crops, beets, pastures, vineyards and plantation crops, however it is most troublesome in cereals, where it may cause large yield reductions, interfere with harvesting, cause lodging, and in some instances smother the entire crop.

Declared pest category

The Western Australian Organism List (WAOL) contains information on the area(s) in which this pest is declared and the control and keeping categories to which it has been assigned in Western Australia (WA). Search  for cleavers in the WAOL usinng the scientific name Galium aparine.

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons

Requirements for land owners/occupiers and other persons if this pest is found can be sourced through the declared plant requirements link.

Search > detect > report

MyPestGuide™ Reporter
via app or online
(Select 'Send report to MyWeedWatcher' from menu)

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080

Control method

Report: the presence of this organism before undertaking a control measure. Control methods for this declared plant can be found through the cleavers control link.

Further information

Further information on cleavers can be found on the cleavers: what you should know page.

Contact information

Pest and Disease Information Service (PaDIS)
+61 (0)8 9368 3080
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