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PlantFiles: Spanish Needle, Hairy Beggar-ticks, Pico Preto
Bidens pilosa

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Bidens (BY-denz) (Info)
Species: pilosa (pil-OH-suh) (Info)

Synonym:Bidens odorata
Synonym:Bidens pilosa var. bimucronata
Synonym:Bidens pilosa var. minor

5 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing the rootball
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings
From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #1 of Bidens pilosa by Monocromatico

By Monocromatico
Thumbnail #2 of Bidens pilosa by Monocromatico

By oladyhoo
Thumbnail #3 of Bidens pilosa by oladyhoo

By oladyhoo
Thumbnail #4 of Bidens pilosa by oladyhoo

By kennedyh
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By Todd_Boland
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By losmilagros
Thumbnail #7 of Bidens pilosa by losmilagros

There are a total of 11 photos.
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2 positives
1 neutral
2 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Negative schenevus On Oct 5, 2013, schenevus from Spring Hill, FL wrote:

Spanish Needle nothing but a weed in my yard. Hate to have to pull it all the time. Gets on my clothes and in dog's hair. Pretty little bloom elsewhere.

Positive losmilagros On Aug 26, 2008, losmilagros from Loxahatchee, FL wrote:

Under control,is great add for dishes.You can use like any green.Good source of Iron.Even is a part of a big research again the Leukemia.

Positive Campfiredan On May 22, 2007, Campfiredan from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This one grows all over the place in my neighborhood and when the little sticky seeds get into your socks it can be a pain. But the boiled greens are delicious and a small amount of the tenderest new growth is a tasty spicy addition to salads. I am spreading it around in my "lawn" (more by neglect than by seeding). It is a weed in the fields of a farmer friend of mine and rather than curse at it he actually sells it in the local farmers market where people pay good money for it as greens -- they probably pull it up every week from their yards and then go pay for it at the market. Per 100 gm serving it contains 2.8 gms of protein, 111 mg of calcium, and 2.3 mg of iron. Eat your weeds!

For info on cooking it see Green Deane video at

Neutral frostweed On Jan 9, 2007, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Spanish Needle, Hairy Beggar-ticks, Pico Preto Bidens pilosa is Native to Texas and other States.

Negative MotherNature4 On Jan 20, 2006, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Extremely invasive, but it does have a few advantages along roadsides, but not in my yard.

It provides nectar for butterflies, especially the Florida White. It is edible as a pot herb. The flowers may be washed and served atop rice dishes. They have a peppery flavor.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Alachua, Florida
Bartow, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Lecanto, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Melrose, Florida
Miami, Florida (2 reports)
Pensacola, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida
Punta Gorda, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Brunswick, Georgia

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