Bidens bipinnata - L.
Common Name Spanish Needles
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rocky woods, roadsides and waste places, often in sandy soils, Florida to Mexico, north to Massachusetts and New York[43].
Range E. Asia. Eastern N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Moist Soil Full sun

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Bidens bipinnata Spanish Needles
Bidens bipinnata Spanish Needles
Patrick J. Alexander @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Bidens bipinnata is a ANNUAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower from Sep to October, and the seeds ripen in October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.


 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Tea.

Leaves and young shoots - cooked or used as a flavouring[177, 207]. Used as a vegetable[218]. A tea is made from the flowering tops[207].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antibacterial;  Emmenagogue;  Styptic;  Vermifuge.

The root and seeds are popularly used as an emmenagogue and in the treatment of laryngeal and bronchial diseases[207]. A tea made from the leaves is vermifuge[222]. The leaves have been chewed as a treatment for sore throat[222]. The plant juice is styptic and has been used as ear drops[222]. An extract of the plant has bactericidal properties[218].


Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Succeeds in any moderately fertile moisture-retentive soil in full sun[200]. A good bee plant[200].
Seed - sow mid to late spring in situ and only just cover the seed.
Other Names
Spanish needles.
Found In
Native to Asia and North America, and naturalized elsewhere.
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

This plant can be weedy or invasive. Possible weedy in Nebraska and the Great Plains, USA.
Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Bidens aureaArizona beggarticks10
Bidens bigeloviiBigelow's beggarticks10
Bidens biternata 01
Bidens frondosaBeggar Ticks, Devil's beggartick12
Bidens parviflora 11
Bidens pilosaBeggar's Ticks, Blackjack, Hairy beggarticks22
Bidens tripartitaBurr Marigold, Threelobe beggarticks22


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Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Mary Zan Warren   Fri Jul 30 13:25:33 2004
I have this plant growing wild, coming up in my squash in one area. Where this plant is present in my squash I have NO squash bugs. In other squash garden areas without this plant, there ARE many squash bugs.
d_pfalzer   Tue Feb 20 2007
This plant grows wild in waste places through out the Tampa, Florida area. According to the Peterson Field Guide of Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants and Herbs it is known not only as Spanish Needles, but also as Soapbush Needles. This second name makes me think that it must have an other use involving the making of soaps. I wonder what the details of that is. This plant grows so abundantly around here that one could easily harvest great quantities of it without disturbing the ecosystem.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future   Tue Feb 20 2007
We have no records of this plant being used as a soap. There are three main ways in which a plant can be used to make soap:- 1. An oil obtained from the seed is used as an ingredient in making soap. 2. The plant is burnt to provide potash which is also an ingredient in making soap. 3. The plant contains saponins - naturally lathering substances that can be extracted by gently simmering the plant in water to make a safe, natural and gentle soap. As far as I know, the seeds are not a good source of oil. Therefore, if the plant has been used in making soap it is by method 2 or 3.
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Subject : Bidens bipinnata  

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