Western Isles Wildflowers
Western Isles wildflowers is a collection of information about our Hebridean wildflowers including identification hints, traditional herbal uses and general plant lore.
Goosegrass is a member of the bedstraw family, which is well represented in the Western Isles by field madder, ladies bedstraw, heath bedstraw, common marsh bedstraw and goosegrass.
These bedstraws are all native wildflowers of the Western Isles.
Goosegrass is also known as goose bumps, gollenweed, clydon, claggy Meggies, hairiff, sticky William, herriff, robin-run-the hedge, sticky buds, sticky bobs, sticky grass, sweethearts, sticky weed, kisses, clyders, gosling weed, stickleback and stick-a-back!
It is a scrambling plant the stems of which are generally 3 - 4 feet long.
Goosegrass is covered with tiny hooked bristles which is what makes it stick so firmly to our clothing, and gives the plant so many of it's names.
Goosegrass has fairly large (4 - 6mmm) sticky fruits following it's tiny white flowers. It flowers June - August.
The names associated with geese refer to the way goosegrass has been (and still is) used as foodstuff for geese (and chickens).
We can eat goosegrass as a vegetable once it is cooked (the hooks soften).
See a photograph of goosegrass showing the tiny flower.
Photography © Suzanne Harris
Stornoway - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
19th June, 2007