I got this plant sprouting in my window box this spring. Starting from a single seed, it has grown into an impressive array of branching climbing vines, reaching 6 feet tall. The stem turned red as it matured. The most awesome feature of this plant is that the stem is covered in micro hooks that cling to everything. I've seen it cling to a paint on a metal gutter pipe I can think of these hooks as velcro or gecko feet.

Can someone help me identify this plant?

  • climbing vine
  • stem is covered in tiny hooks that are very clingy
  • grows to 6 feet tall
  • stem turns to red as it matures
  • segmented leaves
  • leaves grow to palm size
  • new leaves sprout from stem where old leaves were connected
  • -

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ In what general region of what country is this plant? Do you know if it is native or if it cultivated? Also, check in with Gardening and Landscaping.SE as someone there may be able to help you. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ I don't know its name, but kill it now! Some bird dropped it. This plant appeared in my yard five years ago and now it's choking everything. It is the most invasive weed I've ever seen. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ If you found this plant in flowering condition, plz upload picture of its inflorescence and flowers in close up $\endgroup$
    – user25568
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 9:38

2 Answers 2


I think this might be Japanese hops. Well, what I have in my yard is Japanese hops.

enter image description here

As I said, it's horrible.

Description and Biology:

  • Plant: herbaceous annual, twining, shallow-rooted vine that can climb to heights of ten or more feet with the help of rough-textured stems covered with short, sharp, downward pointing prickles that can be very irritating to the skin.

  • Leaves: leaves are rough-textured, paired, simple, palmate (like a hand) with typically 5-7 lobes; leaf margins are toothed.

  • Flowers, fruits and seeds: flowering occurs in July and August; male and female flowers are borne on separate plants; male flowers are very small, greenish yellow and occur in branched panicles; female flowers are in pale green, plump, drooping, cone-like structures with overlapping scales that become ‘hops’; hop scales and the seeds are covered with yellow glands; seeds are about 1/8 in. in diameter, roundish with a blunt tip, and light brown with darker specks; seeds mature through September.

  • Spreads: by seed which begins to germinate in early spring, but new plants may continue to emerge as the season progresses if sunlight and moisture are available; seeds are dispersed by animals (including people), machinery and floodwaters.

  • Look-alikes: native common hop (Humulus lupulus) looks very much like Japanese hop but it is usually 3-lobed or unlobed; native bur cucumber (Sicyos angulatus) lacks prickles, has tendrils, and the leaves have much less pronounced lobes.

  • Prevention and Control: Do not purchase, plant or transplant this species.

  • $\begingroup$ @Alex Stone - sorry it took me so long to edit with more info. Really, trust me, kill it before it sets seed (which it's doing right now.) $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 22:34
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the description. The plant never had a chance to flower and is mostly dead now. I will dispose of the rest of it. $\endgroup$
    – Alex Stone
    Commented Sep 16, 2014 at 20:53

The Velcro Vine, known variously as Cleavers, Goose Grass and Bedstraw is botanically known as Galium aparine. New spring growth can be juiced or eaten in salads or on sandwiches. It can be used to stimulate and decongest the lymphatic system and as a diuretic to remove excess H2O.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you add sources and an identifying image of the species so people can background read on your answer? $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ That plant clearly is not galium aparine. Leaf morphology is completely different. Not sure what it is, but it grows as an invasive weed in my garden in Burlington, VT. Please DO NOT try to eat it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ This is not cleavers. Not by a long shot! $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 2:05

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