Often remembered from childhood, goose grass or sticky willy has clinging hairs on its leaves, stem and seeds which stick to your clothes. It’s an annual and easy removed but also easily spreads with its self sown seedlings. Can grow up to 4ft high. Sticky Willy can 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.
The leaves and stem are covered with hooked hairs that latch onto anything that brushes against them.
2 to 5 stalked flowers appear at the end of a stem. Individual flowers have 4 pointed white petals with a greenish center, and are about 1/16 inch across.
Sticky Willy is a common garden weed and likes shade. Keep a close eye out for it as it will creep around your plants, spreading as it goes.
Remove Sticky Willy 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.
The leaves and stems of the plant can be cooked as a leaf vegetable if gathered before the fruits appear.
Sticky Willy is a reliable herb and is used to clean urinary stones and to treat urinary infections.