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Corn Cleavers

Galium tricornutum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rubiaceae (Bedstraw)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Fields, grassland, woodland.

White, 4 petals
The tiny, creamy- white flowers appear in clusters. Flower stalks are bent backwards.
The fruit is a globular nutlet. Fruits hang together in pairs at junctions between the leaves and the stem.
The narrow, pointed, oblong to lance-shaped leaves are in whorls of 6 to 8 around the stem. The stems are square in cross-section. A rare annual weed of corn flower fields. Most common in the area of Cambridge.
Other Names:
Corn Bedstraw, Rough Corn Bedstraw, Roughfruit, Rough-fruited Bedstraw, Three-horned Bedstraw.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Galium tricornutum is a perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae. It is native to North America and is found in grassland and woodland habitats. The plant has small, white or greenish flowers that bloom in the spring. It grows to be about 30 cm (1 foot) tall and has hairy stems and leaves. The plant is often used medicinally for its astringent, diuretic, and tonic properties. It is also used as a natural dye and as a coffee substitute.


Corn Cleavers, also known as Galium tricornutum, is an annual plant species that belongs to the Rubiaceae family. It is native to Europe and parts of Asia and is commonly found in fields, roadsides, and waste areas.

One of the defining features of Corn Cleavers is its stem, which is covered in stiff hairs that are used to cling to other plants or objects. This plant grows to an average height of 30-50 cm and has a spreading habit, making it a great ground cover plant. It has small white flowers that bloom from June to August and are a popular source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

Corn Cleavers are known for their medicinal properties and have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. The plant has a soothing effect on the skin and has been used to treat a range of skin conditions, including eczema and skin rashes. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, making it an effective natural remedy for various ailments.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Corn Cleavers are also used as a food source. The young shoots and leaves of the plant are edible and can be consumed raw or cooked. They have a slightly bitter taste and are often used in salads or as a garnish. The plant is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C and iron.

Overall, Corn Cleavers are a versatile and useful plant species that have been valued for their medicinal and food properties for centuries. If you are interested in growing this plant in your garden, it is best to sow the seeds in the spring and keep the soil moist. With its attractive appearance and useful properties, Corn Cleavers are a great addition to any garden.

Corn Cleavers are also known for their ornamental value, as they add texture and interest to garden beds and borders. The plant's green foliage provides a backdrop for other flowering plants, and its small white flowers are a great addition to any mixed flower bed. In addition, Corn Cleavers are easy to grow and care for, making them a popular choice among gardeners.

One thing to note is that Corn Cleavers can spread rapidly and become invasive in some areas. If you are planting them in your garden, be sure to keep them contained by planting them in pots or using physical barriers to prevent them from spreading.

In conclusion, Corn Cleavers are a multi-functional plant species that offer a range of benefits, including medicinal properties, food, and ornamental value. Whether you are looking for a natural remedy for skin conditions or simply want to add some interest to your garden, Corn Cleavers are definitely worth considering.

In traditional medicine, Corn Cleavers have also been used to treat various other health conditions, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and urinary tract infections. The plant contains various compounds that have medicinal properties, including triterpenoids, flavonoids, and tannins.

In addition to its medicinal properties, Corn Cleavers are also valued for their ability to help improve soil quality. As they grow, they release nutrients into the soil and help to improve soil structure. This makes them a great choice for gardeners who are looking to improve the health of their soil and support the growth of other plants.

Corn Cleavers are also a great choice for wildlife gardens, as they provide food and habitat for a range of wildlife species. The plant's flowers are a popular source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators, while the seeds provide food for birds.

Finally, it is important to mention that Corn Cleavers should be used with caution, as some people may experience an allergic reaction to the plant. If you are planning to use the plant for medicinal purposes, it is always best to speak to a healthcare professional first.

In conclusion, Corn Cleavers are a fascinating and multi-functional plant species that offer a range of benefits, including medicinal properties, food, ornamental value, soil improvement, and wildlife habitat. Whether you are looking to add some interest to your garden, improve your health, or support wildlife, Corn Cleavers are definitely worth considering.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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