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Shepherd's Needle Bidens pilosa


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Shepherd's Needle
credit: Ixitixel/CCSA

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Alternate name: Hairy Beggarticks

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Habit: introduced annual (rarely perennial) herb; upright, square stem; forms dense colonies.
Height: 1-6 ft (.3-1.8 m) or more.
Leaf: pinnately divided or compound, stalked, 1-7 leaflets; 1-5.5 in (25-135 mm) long.
Flower: usually daisy-like, .25-.4 in (7-10 mm) wide; 4-7 rays (rarely rayless), wide, rounded, white to pale yellow to pale pink, .1-.3 in (2-8 mm) long; yellow to orange disk.
Fruit: dry seed, brown or black, harpoon-shaped, (8-16 mm) long; no bristles.

Flower Year round.

Habitat Wettish sites in full sun: roadsides, trails, cropland, open lowland areas, disturbed sites; at 30-6200 ft (10-1900 m).

Range Native to North American tropics, now naturalized around the world; on the coast and borders of the U.S. from Oregon to California to Texas to Florida to Massachusets; Wisconsin, Ontario, Quebec, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Puerto Rico; not reported in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware or Virginia.

Discussion Also known as: spanish needle, hairy beggarticks, fragrant beggarticks, cobbler's pegs. Considered weedy or invasive in some areas, including Hawaii and other tropical habitats; grown for food or medicine in other parts of the world.