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Bidens pilosa L.
Family Asteraceae
Common name: Cobblers Pegs, Pitch-forks, Teasers (L.H.I.)

Bidens pilosa L. APNI*

Description: Almost glabrous to densely hairy woody herb to 1 m or more high.

Leaves toothed, 3- or 5-lobed, terminal and lateral leaflets ovate to lanceolate, 6–12 cm long, 4–8 cm wide; petiole very slightly winged.

Heads ovoid, 5–15 mm diam.; outer involucral bracts with finely hairy margins, shorter than inner bracts. Ray florets white.

Achenes linear, curved, 6–12 mm long, with tubercle-based barbs overall or mainly on the ribs; pappus awns 2 or 3, erect or spreading.

Photo L. von Richter

Photo T.M. Tame

Photo G. Harden



Flowering: throughout year, but chiefly summer–autumn.

Distribution and occurrence: Grows in disturbed areas; widespread, north from Milton area and the A.C.T. Native of S Amer.
NSW subdivisions: *NC, *CC, *SC, *NT, *ST, *NWS, *CWS, *NWP, *SWP, *LHI
Other Australian states: *Qld *Vic. *W.A. *S.A. *N.T.
AVH map***

During James Cook’s second voyage (1772–1775) to Australia the regions east and south-east of Australia, there are specimens of numerous ‘weeds’ from various Pacific islands, including Bidens pilosa. This species has an American origin, but is widely invasive in Eurasia, Africa and Pacific Islands as well as Australia, and it has evidently been brought here by Spanish ships in the preceding two centuries. Fifty-four European ships are recorded as having sailed into Australian waters before Captain Cook claimed the east coast of Australia for the British in 1770. For more information read Bean, A.R. (2007) A new system for determining which plant species are indigenous in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 20:1-43.

Text by J. Everett; updated L. Murray 2017.
Taxon concept: Flora of NSW 3 (1992)

 Key to the varieties 
1Ligulate ray florets absentvar. pilosa
Ligulate ray florets present, often minute, 2–8 mm long, ephemeralvar. minor

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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