Bidens alba

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Bidens alba
Bidens alba MMS1.jpg
Photo taken by Michelle Smith
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae ⁄ Compositae
Genus: Bidens
Species: B. alba
Binomial name
Bidens alba
(L.) DC.
Bide alba dist.jpg
Natural range of Bidens alba from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Romerillo; Beggarticks

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Bidens pilosa Linnaeus; B. alba (Linnaeus) A.P. de Candolle var. radiata (Schultz ‘Bipontinus’) Ballard ex T.E. Melchert; B. pilosa Linnaeus var. radiata (Schultz ‘Bipontinus’)

Variety: Bidens alba (Linnaeus) A.P. de Candolle var. radiata (Schultz 'Bipontinus') Ballard ex T.E. Melchert


B. alba is a weedy annual or a short lived perennial that has vertical roots.[1] [2] Leaves are arranged opposite with depressed midveins.[1]




In the Coastal Plain in Florida, B. alba can be found in pine-oak woodlands.[3] It has been found to be common in disturbed areas such as railroads, citrus orchards, soil dumps and empty lots.[4][3] It has been observed to grow in loamy sand.[3] Associated species include Andropogon, Euphorbia, and Ambrosia.[3]


Flowers January and May through November.[3] B. alba has been observed flowering in north Florida year round with peak inflorescence in February and May.[5]

Seed dispersal

The seed has two prongs that stick on to passing by animals, making dispersal zoochorous.[2]

Seed bank and germination

Under cooler conditions, newly added seeds in the seed bank have a slightly higher germination rates than seeds that have resided in the seed bank for a longer time.[4] Germination has also been observed at a wide range of temperatures, pH and salt concentrations; however, is inhibited at highly acidic and moderately alkaline soils and extreme water stress.[4] Germination is not sensitive to light.[4]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Bidens alba at Archbold Biological Station:[6]

Apidae: Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, B. pennsylvanicus, Mellisodes communis, M. comptoides, Nomada fervida

Halictidae: Agapostemon splendens, Augochlora pura, Augochlorella aurata, A. gratiosa, Augochloropsis metallica, Dieunomia heteropoda, Halictus poeyi, Lasioglossum pectoralis

Megachilidae: Anthidiellum notatum rufomaculatum, A. perplexum, Coelioxys dolichos, C. modesta, C. octodentata, C. sayi, Dolichostelis louisae, Heriades leavitti, Megachile albitarsis, M. brevis pseudobrevis, M. exilis parexilis, M. inimica, M. mendica, M. petulans, M. rugifrons, M. xylocopoides

Sphecidae: Ammophila pictipennis, A. urnaria, Bicyrtes capnoptera, Cerceris blakei, Isodontia exornata, Microbembex monodonta, Philanthus ventilabris

Vespidae: Eumenes smithii, Pachodynerus erynnis, Stenodynerus fundatiformis

Diseases and parasites

Crypticerya genistae is an invasive scale insect native to Brazil and is found in association with B. alba.[7]

Morgan and Overholt (2005) found that the Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) had aqueous extracts that negatively affected the the growth of B. alba.[8]

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 [Floridata] Accessed December 2, 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 [Eat the Weeds] Accessed December 2, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: Last accessed: October 2015. Collectors: Loran C. Anderson, Ed Keppner, Lisa Keppner, R. Kral, Annie Schmidt, Kyle W. Shankle. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Gulf, Indian River, Leon, Liberty, Martin, Wakulla. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Ramirez, A. H. M., A. J. Jhala, et al. (2012). "Germination and Emergence Characteristics of Common Beggar's-Tick (Bidens alba)." Weed Science 60(3): 374-378.
  5. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. Accessed: 7 DEC 2016
  6. Deyrup, M.A. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  7. Hodges, G. S., Hodges, A. C., & Unruh, C. M.. (2008). A New Exotic Pest for Florida's Natural Areas: Crypticerya genistae (Hemiptera: Monophlebidae). The Florida Entomologist, 91(2), 335–337. Retrieved from
  8. Morgan, E. C., & Overholt, W. A.. (2005). Potential Allelopathic Effects of Brazilian Pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius Raddi, Anacardiaceae) Aqueous Extract on Germination and Growth of Selected Florida Native Plants. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 132(1), 11–15. Retrieved from