Definition of cleavers in US English:


plural noun

  • treated as singular or plural A widely distributed scrambling plant related to bedstraws, with hooked bristles on the stem, leaves, and seeds that cling to fur and clothing.

    Galium aparine, family Rubiaceae

    Also called goosegrass
    • ‘Finally, one other dried herb formula blends 2 parts echinacea, 1 part cleavers, 1 part goldenseal and 1 part phytolacca.’
    • ‘Weed killers remove wildflowers and traditional grasses, then more aggressive species such as cleavers, thistles and nettles colonise.’
    • ‘Many such plants, including the cleavers, have the means to crawl through anything - both its stems and seeds are covered in tiny barbs.’
    • ‘The formula contained nettle leaf, violet leaf, wild oat seed, chamomile flowers, cleavers and fenugreek seed added to warm spearmint tea or diluted juice.’
    • ‘Therefore, cleavers, a fast-growing herbaceous annual with a scrambling-ascending growth habit, was chosen for this study.’


Old English clīfe, related to cleave.