Spanish Needles

Spanish NeedlesThis large family (Asteraceae), commonly called the Aster Family, consists of 1,314 genera and 21,000 species of herbs, shrubs, climbers and a few trees is found chiefly in temperate and subtropical regions.  The plants are of value to man as ornamentals; a few are insecticides and fish poisons. In 1748 in Pennsylvania, Peter Kalm wrote that the plant was called “Spanish Needles” and complained that its black seeds stuck to his clothing.  The young shoots and leaved are cooked and the flowering tops make tea. In earlier times the root and seeds were used to treat laryngeal and bronchial diseases. This genus Bidens is commonly known as Beggar-Ticks or Sticktights. A related species Bidens pilosa is a South American herb that now grows throughout much of Africa and Australia.  In Africa, it is used as a food crop and the plat is used to treat diarrhea.

OtherCommonName:

Two Teeth

ScientificName:

Bidens bipinnata

Community:

Edge

PlantStatus:

Native

LifeSpan:

Annual

PlantHeight:

12 to 60 inches

FruitingTime:

August to late October

Distribution:

Massachusetts to Florida ~ Statewide outside central Pine Barrens in New Jersey

FloweringTime:

Late July to October

IdentifyingCharacteristics:

Square stem, smooth ~ Leaves long and narrow, divided into 2 or 3 lobes ~ Head slender on stiff stalk, small disk shaped