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Weed Seed: Galium spurium (False cleavers)



Common Name

False cleavers


Secondary Noxious, Class 3 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.


Canadian: Occurs in AB, BC, MB, ON, QC and SK (Malik and Vanden Born 1988Footnote 1).

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa, Europe and temperate Asia and naturalized elsewhere (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2).

Duration of Life Cycle


Seed or Fruit Type

Schizocarp, divided into 2 fruits

Identification Features



Surface Texture


Other Features

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields, forage seed crops, field borders, prairies, gardens, coastal areas, dry open woods, roadsides and waste grounds (Malik and Vanden Born 1988Footnote 1, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 3).

General Information

This species thrives in relatively dry and sunny habitats and is intolerant of shade; however, it is very rare on dry prairies that receive little rainfall. Seed dispersal occurs when contaminated straw and manure as well as used animal bedding is spread onto fields. Contaminated harvesting equipment may also disperse seeds along farm roads (Malik and Vanden Born 1988Footnote 1).

Similar Species

Cleavers (Galium aparine)


False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruits
False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruit
False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruit, close-up of surface
False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruit
False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruit
False cleavers (Galium spurium) fruit, cross-section

Similar species

Similar species: Cleavers (Galium aparine) fruits
Similar species: Cleavers (Galium aparine) fruit
Similar species: Cleavers (Galium aparine) fruit, close-up of surface
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