Posted on

sticky seeds from weeds

Some enterprising folks dry and roast sticky Willy seeds and use them as a caffeine-free coffee substitute, according to “Edible and Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest.”

She says the important thing to do now is to get lawns healthy again, so that invading weeds won’t find a welcoming environment.

Now that I know that sticky Willy is much more than a weed, am I finding it less annoying? Not really. I might consider keeping a small patch of it in a side yard, but I’m ready for it to be gone and, if possible, stay gone from my backyard.

Sticky Willy can also be consumed as a tea, according to several other herbal sources. “The Handbook of Alternatives to Chemical Medicine” suggests steeping 1 teaspoon of crushed leaves in 1 cup of boiling water to promote weight loss and soothe irritation of the urinary tract. Or cook it with beans, to add flavor and reduce flatulence. Sticky Willy Beano?

Last weekend, after two hours of nonstop weed pulling (henbit and chickweed as well as S. Willy), I removed strands of sticky Willy from my pant legs, my work boots – and the back of my head. Ugh.

I don’t have much of a lawn, but for those of you who do, Daphne Richards, Travis County’s extension agent, says you’re having more weed problems this year (sticky Willy as well as others) because of recent heavy drought, high heat and watering restrictions. “Lawns were stressed and had no time to recover before the weather got cold and they went dormant. The dead patches in dormant lawns allowed space for the weeds to root and take off with all of the winter rain.”

Some gardeners call it the Velcro plant. Others know it as cleavers or sticky weed. My favorite common name for Galium aparine? Sticky Willy.

freshly-cultivated ground in borders, established flowerbeds, pots, vegetable plots

Remove cleavers regularly by hand, or hoe off young seedlings before they set seed. Avoid getting seeds on clothing, as this can inadvertently spread it around the garden. Mulch borders with a 5cm layer of garden compost or composted bark to suppress seedlings.

A short-lived plant that grows sticky mats of foliage, which can swamp cultivated plants. It produces sticky seeds, which can be spread around the garden by animals and on clothing.

Find it on

Cleavers (Galium aparine) grow rapidly during warm weather. The sticky stems are able to scramble around the garden, smothering small, cultivated plants and setting masses of seed. It’s usually introduced on the coats of animals, birds’ feathers or human clothing. Its lifecycle is approximately eight weeks from germination to setting seed.

Apply a contact weedkiller when the plants are young and before they get a chance to flower.