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Bidens pilosa

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

Bidens pilosa L.

Linnaeus, C. von (1753) Species Plantarum 2: 832. Type: Habitat in America..

Synonyms

Bidens pilosa var. typica Domin, Bibliotheca Botanica 89(4): 1235(1928), Type: ?.

Common name

Spanish Needles; Beggar Ticks; Pitchforks; Cobbler's Pegs; Blackjack

Weed

*

Stem

Usually flowers and fruits as a herb but occasionally grows into a shrub 1 m tall.

Leaves

Leaf or leaflet blades about 6-12 x 4-8 cm, only sparsely hairy on the underside. Petioles grooved on the upper surface, petiole bases forming a transverse ridge across the twig and this ridge resembles a stipular scar. Stems +/- 4-angled.

Flowers

Flowers borne in heads about 5-15 mm diam., about 40-50 flowers per head. Flowers surrounded or subtended by persistent erect bracts with fimbriate margins. Pollen orange.

Fruit

Each fruit or nutlet about 6-12 mm long, ending in about 3-5 plumes each with downward pointing hairs which adhere to clothes, animal fur, etc. Cotyledons longer than the radicle but of equal width.

Seedlings

Cotyledons +/- linear, about 13-22 x 2-4 mm. First pair of leaves either simple or deeply lobed or compound with three leaflets each of which is toothed or lobed. At the tenth leaf stage: leaves trifoliolate with the middle leaflet much longer than the lateral leaflets. Leaflets hairy on both the upper and lower surfaces.

Distribution and Ecology

A cosmopolitan species of uncertain origin, now naturalized in NT, CYP, NEQ and southwards as far as Victoria. Altitudinal range from near sea level to 1200 m. Grows in disturbed areas in rain forest.

Natural History

This species has medicinal uses. (http://www.amazon-medic.co.uk/database/data/Picao preto.html)

An infusion of the plant, sometimes of the flower-heads only, has been used in domestic medicine in several countries for diarrhoea, dysentery and coughs; the tannin content provides an astringency which would be of some use in those complaints. Cribb (1981).

WA

X

NT

X

CYP

X

NEQ

X

Herb (herbaceous or woody, under 1 m tall)

X

Shrub (woody or herbaceous, 1-6 m tall)

X

RFK Code

3422