The many soft, pale stems of Galium tomentosum growing from a woody rootstock are four-angled in shape and conspicuously hairy, the hairs hooked. The stems are used by birds, including fiscal shrikes for lining their nests. The plant benefits from this as an additional seed dispersal method.
Large stipules grow at stem nodes, resembling leaves. The leaves grow in whorls of six to eight around the stems. Leaf shape is narrowly ovate to lanceolate with an acutely pointed tip and tapering at the base. Leaves are 3 cm long and 1 cm wide. Hooked hairs occur on leaf margins, while the leaf surfaces are hairless.
The recurving prickles or hooked hairs grapple and cling to fur or clothing of passersby. The plant isn’t browsed (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Bond and Goldblatt, 1984; Shearing and Van Heerden, 2008).