Skip to Main Content
Plants of the UNF Campus

Bidens pilosa (syn. B. alba) - Beggar tick
Family Asteracae


About 200 species of Bidens are native to North America and South America, mostly in the warmer areas. This species is native to the eastern and southwestern United States, Mexico, and Central America. The daisy “flower” is actually made up of many individual flowers. Each “petal” is actually a single flower that has no reproductive parts. The yellow disk in the center contains the flowers that can produce seeds. Each flower of beggar tick produces a single dry fruit with two hooks on one end. These hooks catch onto clothing and fur so they can be spread to new sites. A few medicinal uses have been recorded for various plants in the genus Bidens but this species is reported to contain some dangerous toxins. 


See this plant in natural areas around campus.


Herbaceous plant to about three to four feet tall.

Care Instructions:

Light: sun to part shade

Water: well-drained soil, moderately drought tolerant

Soil: adaptable to soil types, no special requirements

In northeast Florida, this native plant is commonly viewed as a weed because the seeds stick to clothing so readily. It may not suit the formal garden but it is appropriate for a naturalistic garden. The white daisies are attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. It is a perennial most winters but is killed by temperatures in the high teens F.