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Bidens Species, Black-jack, Spanish Needle, Hairy Beggar-ticks

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



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 30, 2015, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

The true Bidens pilosa does not have white flower petals at all. The ones with small or big white flower petals are either hybrid with Bidens alba or Bidens alba.


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.


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.


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 ... read more


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

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


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.