The Bad

Galium aparine has a variety of colloquial names including goosegrass, cleavers and stickyjack.  Now I am speaking on a purely personal level but I consider this plant to be the outstanding baddy of the year, if it was a cowboy it would be dressed all in black with an enormous black stetson.  It appears overnight poking out from the top of shrubs, around herbaceous plants, out of hedges, in sun, in shade, in wet, in dry you name it.  Is no place out-of-bounds?  Spreading at a rate of knots to form a tacky mass of unmanageable menace, sticking to hair, clothes and arms as you try to remove it and to add insult to injury bringing me out in hives which can itch for a week.  Apparently it is the anthoquinones that cause the skin irritation!   It is allegedly an indicator of nutrient rich soil, which may flatter momentarily but I’m not that easily won over, it still remains my current foe of choice.  

Of course if you delve deeper it is a helpful herb.  The roots can be used to make the red dye galiosin, tinctures and tissanes purportedly can treat jaundice, relieve oedema, kidneys problems and high blood pressure.  It is also edible but must be cooked first due to those horrid hooks. 

Still bloomin’ annoying to me though.



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8 responses to “The Bad

  1. Alex

    Would be interesting to know if goosegrass tincture works as a cure for goosegrass hives as urtica tincture works for nettle stinks.

    I feel a trip to the local health shop is required!

  2. Well in that case my sprawling Bramley apple tree surely has nutrient rich soil then!!! Silly me chopped off the main leader many years ago when I moved it from a previous allotment. As a consequence it takes up nearly a quarter of my plot with many low and wide branches. It gets loads of mulch in the winter and I spread cardboard, plant chives and comfrey underneath it but sadly all this work just seems to encourgage goosegrass and bindweed. Both of these are difficult to remove when the fruit is growing as it is now! I wonder how long goosegrass seeds stay viable in the soil? I will never get the bindweed out without disturbing the roots as it is so deep.

  3. Bosswoman

    I know what’s coming – the Good, the Bad and then a photo of the old crone weeding the walls, I suppose.

  4. Medlar Fairy

    the leaf tips make a luminous and envigorating tea – liquid life force!

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