Close-up photo of the seeds of a Cleavers plant or to use it's posh name Galium Aparine L.
It is known by many different names such as Goosegrass, but probably the most common used is Sticky Willy. The plant is an annual, and tends to grow in fields and hedgerows preferably in partial shade, in nutrient rich soil. The stem, leaves and seeds are covered with tiny hooks that ensure that any passing animal becomes the innocent courier of it. This allows the plant to spread diversely. As children we used to love pulling the plant up and throwing it at our friends, being highly amused when they didn't realise their backs were covered with these tiny seeds.
The plant seems to be loved by horses who readily eat it. There are accounts, that feeding horses Cleavers, helps to prevent or even cure Laminitis in horses and ponies. Laminitis is the inflammation of the tissues to the pedal bone in a horses hoof, and is a serious condition leading to lameness. What is also known, is that people for centuries have used it for medicinal purposes, to cure various ailments and that parts of the plant are edible. The plant is rich in Vitamin C and the seed heads when roasted are an acceptable substitute for coffee.
You can see clearly from the photograph the tiny hooks that allow the efficient dispersal of the seeds. Hope you find it interesting.
Flowers and plants
Close-up and macro
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