Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cleavers tea

There's a small patch of cleavers growing along the fence in my yard. I plucked a little bit and brought it inside to make some tea with. It's one of those things that people use as a spring tonic.

I've also used it in salves to calm irritated skin; for example, it's one of the ingredients in my bug bite balm.

The roots, when you've got enough of them, can be used to dye with. They'll give you a range of reds. I've used cleavers roots to dye with and gotten a really pretty salmon color on the wool, which I spun into a pretty, salmon-colored yarn.

This little plant has a lot of uses and  these are just a few that I've touched upon.

It's easy to mistake Lady's Bedstraw for Cleavers. They look very similar and are related (they are both in the madder family). To tell the difference, all you need to do is touch the plant. If it 'cleaves to you', then it's cleavers. If it's content to let your fingers go without clinging to them, then it's lady's bedstraw.


WeldrBrat said...

Is this the same plant that puts out those soft, tiny balls that just love the undercoat of my Miniature Schnauzer? I go through fits with him during this time of the year! And I just fought with trying to yank a bunch out from under one of my rose bushes a few days ago!

ICQB said...

Hi WeldrBrat!

Yes, I'm afraid it sounds like the same plant : (

Apparently it's not all good : )

Q said...

Love your natural dyeing....
I am spinner too and have wanted to do some dyeing. I grow marigolds and pokeberry hopefully this summer I will do some dyeing!

ICQB said...

Hi Sherry!

I"m going to try growing pokeberry this year,too, I hope it takes. I also have some Japanese Indigo started and I'm just waiting for the last of the freezes before I plant outside!