Bedstraw family (Rubiaceae)
Annual of branched prostrate or climbing stems 50-150 cm long. Often forms mats. Roughly hairy throughout, hence marked capacity to adhere to material, skin, etc. Stem of square profile. 6-8 leaves per whorl. Flowers small, greenish-white, in clusters of 2-3 that grow up out of leaf axils. Globular burr-type fruits hooked, and so readily dispersed by animals on fur (zoochory). Flowers Jun.-Aug.
Grows on moist to mesic, nutrient-rich soils, in riparian forest or on margins of oak-lime-hornbeam forest. Nitrogen-demanding, ruderal weed of worldwide distribution. Young stems edible, while fruits provide “coffee substitute”.
Descriptions devised by the team at the Independent Department of Forest Botany, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, i.e. L. Witkowska-Żuk, K. Marciszewska, W. Ciurzycki, A. Obidziński and P. Zaniewski.