A member of the madder/bedstraw family (Rubiaceae). The narrow leaves are whorled. Tiny, four-petaled flowers appear in the axils and in a terminal cluster. The stem and leaves are covered in stiff hooks that allow the plant to cling to fur and clothing. These hooks also appear of the fruits, aiding in seed dispersal.
I see it in open to partially shaded areas.
The plant is edible, best cooked before the fruits appear. While it can be eaten raw, the Velcro-like hooks make it unpalatable. The plant contains low amounts of caffeine, and as with so many other plants, the dried fruit has been used as a coffee substitute. The plant also has medicinal uses as described in the reference. The plant has also been used as mattress stuffing (bedstraw).