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Bidens pilosa - L.

Common Name Beggar's Ticks, Blackjack, Hairy beggarticks
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards The roots, leaves and flowers are strongly phototoxic, the achenes weakly so[218]. Substances isolated from the leaves can kill human skin in the presence of sunlight at concentrations as low as 10ppm[218].
Habitats Damp lowland fields and wasteland, North and Kermadec Islands[44]. Moist, open neglected places at elevations of 700 - 2000 metres in Nepal[272].
Range New Zealand. A pantropical weed[272].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (1 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Moist Soil Full sun
Bidens pilosa Beggar

Bidens pilosa Beggar


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Bidens pilosa is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from May to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, hover-flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map



 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Shoots
Edible Uses: Tea

Leaves - raw or cooked[177]. A resinous flavour[173]. Added to salads or steamed and added to soups and stews, they can also be dried for later use[183].A good source of iodine[272]. A nutritional analysis is available[218]. Young shoot tips are used to make a tea[177].

References   More on Edible Uses

Figures in grams (g) or miligrams (mg) per 100g of food.
Leaves (Dry weight)
  • 295 Calories per 100g
  • Water : 0%
  • Protein: 24.5g; Fat: 4g; Carbohydrate: 56.4g; Fibre: 12.1g; Ash: 15.1g;
  • Minerals - Calcium: 1721mg; Phosphorus: 273mg; Iron: 0mg; Magnesium: 0mg; Sodium: 11mg; Potassium: 267mg; Zinc: 0mg;
  • Vitamins - A: 12mg; Thiamine (B1): 0mg; Riboflavin (B2): 0mg; Niacin: 0mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;
  • Reference: [ ]
  • Notes:

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative  Antifungal  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Styptic

A juice made from the leaves is used to dress wounds and ulcers[218, 272]. A decoction of the leaves is anti-inflammatory, styptic and alterative[218]. The whole plant is antirheumatic, it is also used in enemas to treat intestinal ailments[218]. Substances isolated from the leaves are bactericidal and fungicidal, they are used in the treatment of thrush and candida[218].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will succeed outdoors in Britain, though it should be possible to grow it as a spring-sown annual. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture-retentive soil in full sun[200].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in May. Alternatively, a sowing in situ in mid to late spring can be tried.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

beggar tick; bur marigold; cobbler's pegs; duppy needles; farmer's friend; needle grass; spanish needle; stick tight. Spanish: apestosa (Honduras); chipaca (Colombia); jacalate (Spain); manzanilla del pais (Bolivia); papuga; picon; romerillo blanco (Cuba); rosilla grande (Honduras); vara de jacalate (Spain). French: piquant noirs. Chinese: hsien-feng-tsau; xiang feng cao. Portuguese: amor-de-burro. Angola: olokosso. Argentina: amor seco; espina de erizo; picón; saetilla. Australia: cobbler's pegs. Barbados: spanish needle. Brazil: amor seco; carrapicho-de-duas pontas; coambi; erva-picao; fura-capa; goambu; picao; picao preto; picao-campo; pico-pico. Chile: asta de cabra; cacho de cabra. Colombia: cadillo; masquia; papunga chipaca. Comoros: mtsohova; sindanou. Cook Islands: piripiri. Dominican Republic: margarita silvestre; romerillo. Fiji: batimadramadra; matakaro; matua kamate; mbatikalawau; mbatimandramandra. Germany: Zweizahn, Behaarter. Hawaii: ki; ki nehe; ki pipili; kookoolau; nehe; pilipili. India: cobbler's pegs; dipmal; phutium. Indonesia: adjeran harenga; djaringan ketul. Jamaica: spanish needle. Japan: ko-sendangusa. Kenya: blackjack. Laos: pak kwan cham. Mauritius: herbe villebague. Mexico: acahual; acahual blanco; aceitilla; aceitilla blanco; aceitillo; amapola; amor seco; cadillo; China; cruceta; é de milpa; hierba amarilla; hierba del pollo; iztacmozot; kutsúmu (purépecha); mozoquelite; mozote; mozote blanco; mozotl; quelite amargo blanco; rocía; rocilla; rosilla; saetilla; sepé; sepeke (tarahumara); stuyut; té de milpa blanco; te de playa; tutuk joi'dha (tepehuán); zetya. Myanmar: moat-so-ma-hlan; ne-gya-gale; ta-se-urt. New Caledonia: piquant noirs. New Zealand: cobbler's pegs. Niue: kofe tonga; kofetoga. Northern Mariana Islands: beggar ticks; Guam daisy. Panama: arponcito; cadillo; sirvulaca. Papua New Guinea: kobkob. Peru: amor seco; cadilla; pega-pega; perca. Philippines: dadayem; nguad; panibat; pisau-pisau; puriket; purpurikit; tagab; tubak-tubak. Puerto Rico: margarita; margarita silvestre; romerillo. Saudi Arabia: piquant; sornette zerb lapin. South Africa: blackjack; gewone knapseherel. Taiwan: hsien-feng-tsau. Thailand: puen nok sai; yah koen-jam khao. Tonga: fisi'uli. Trinidad and Tobago: railway daisy; spanish needle. Uruguay: amor seco. USA: beggar ticks; hairy beggarticks; spanish needles. Venezuela: cadillo rocero. Vietnam: cuc trang; su nha long. Zambia: blackjack. Zimbabwe: nyamaradza.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Native to the Americas but it is known widely as an introduced species of other regions, including Eurasia, Africa, Australia, and the Pacific Islands.

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Some indication in Hawaii, USA. B. pilosa is native to tropical America but is now a pantropical weed (Wagner et al., 1999). Latin America and eastern Africa have the worst infestations of the weed (Mitich, 1994). It is regarded as a principal weed of sugarcane, maize, coffee, tea, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, bananas, beans and citrus in various Latin American and African countries (Holm et al., 1977) and a serious weed in many other situations. In upland rice in South and South-East Asia, it is common in Thailand and present in Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam [1d].

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Bidens aureaArizona beggarticksPerennial1.0 7-10  LMHNM10 
Bidens bigeloviiBigelow's beggarticksPerennial0.8 0-0  LMHNM10 
Bidens bipinnataSpanish NeedlesAnnual1.0 0-0  LMHNM220
Bidens biternata Annual0.0 -  LMHNM01 
Bidens frondosaBeggar Ticks, Devil's beggartickAnnual1.5 0-0  LMHNM121
Bidens parviflora Annual0.6 -  LMHNM11 
Bidens tripartitaBurr Marigold, Threelobe beggarticksAnnual0.6 5-9  LMHNMWe221

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Esteban Martinez   Fri Sep 28 2007

Here in Tepoztlan, Morelos, a little town one hour away from Mexico City, people use this plant for feeding the chickens. Before I use to weed it from my garden, but now I collect it and give it to my animals.

Michael Adler   Thu Dec 15 2005

This species, or a similr species B. alba, (or both, I'm not sure)is a common persistent weed throughout Florida (where I'm from). I grows in almost any disturbed area in our por sandy soils, though it will perform better in improved soil. It is killed by frost, but goes to seed in only a few months, so growing during the warm season in Britain should not be a problem. Be careful, however, because if you let one plant go through seed production, you will probably never get rid of it. The seeds stick to your socks in such a way that they poke you uncomfortably. Most waste areas in Florida are so thick with them that I avoid them unless absilutely neccessary, because I'll have to spend an hour or so pulling the damn seeds out of my clothes. This plant is so persistant, that I have seen it produce seed even in mowed areas. A farmer friend of mine has been eating it cooked, and has astounded me by selling large amounts of it at a local farmer's market.

   Mon Oct 2 2006

rain-tree Latin american uses for the herb

adebowale akande   Tue Apr 15 2008

sir,i will like to know if bidens pilosa have allelochemicals the names and structures of such chemicals

Abbugao, Devina   Wed Dec 10 2008

sir,may I ask why is it that the roots of bidens pilosa is a component in making a yeast for fermentation of rice wines.what chemical is present in here.

adebowale akande   Thu Jan 29 2009

this a plant that is gaining wide acceptability more work neede to be done on it

Dan Culbertson   Mon Aug 31 2009

The best way I've found to eat Bidens alba and presumably Bidens pilosa is to harvest only the tender two top trusses of leaves from each stem, put them in a large pot, and then pour boiling water over them three times letting stand a few minutes between each treatment. The strong flavor will be removed and a tender tasty bright green "spinach" will result though they retain slight "hairy" texture on the tongue - not enough to be objectionable to me. Add butter and your favorite seasoning. The older leaves can be treated the same way with the boiling water drenches but then should be boiled in more water for about five to ten minutes turn them a grayer more cooked green. They grow prolifically around North Florida and are considered a rampant weed but that just makes them a wonderfully available carefree permaculture resource spring, summer, and fall. There are few food plants so disease and insect resistant.

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