Bidens alba

From Coastal Plain Plants Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
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’).[1]

Varieties: Bidens alba (Linnaeus) A.P. de Candolle var. radiata (Schultz 'Bipontinus') Ballard ex T.E. Melchert.[1]


B. alba is a weedy annual or a short lived perennial that has vertical roots.[2] [3] Leaves are arranged opposite with depressed midveins.[2]




In the Coastal Plain in Florida, B. alba has been observed growing in loamy sand[4] and can be found in pine-oak woodlands[4] and is common in disturbed areas such as railroads, citrus orchards, soil dumps and empty lots.[5][4]

Associated species include Andropogon, Euphorbia, and Ambrosia.[4]


Flowers January and May through November.[4] B. alba has been observed flowering in north Florida year round with peak inflorescence in February and May.[6]

Seed dispersal

The seed has two prongs that stick on to passing by animals, making dispersal zoochorous.[3]

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.[5] 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.[5] Germination is not sensitive to light.[5] Germination can be enhanced by splitting the end of the seed.[7]


Bidens alba has been observed at the Archbold Biological Station to be visited by bees from the Apidae family such as Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, B. pennsylvanicus, Mellisodes communis, M. comptoides, and Nomada fervida, sweat bees from the Halictidae family such as Agapostemon splendens, Augochlora pura, Augochlorella aurata, A. gratiosa, Augochloropsis metallica, Dieunomia heteropoda, Halictus poeyi, and Lasioglossum pectoralis, leafcutting bees from the Megachilidae family such as 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, and M. xylocopoides, thread-waisted wasps from the Sphecidae family such as Ammophila pictipennis, A. urnaria, Bicyrtes capnoptera, Cerceris blakei, Isodontia exornata, Microbembex monodonta, and Philanthus ventilabris, and wasps from the Vespidae family such as Eumenes smithii, Pachodynerus erynnis and Stenodynerus fundatiformis.[8] Additionally, this species has been observed to be visited by members of the Apidae family such as Apis dorsata and A. florea, ladybugs such as Cycloneda sanguinea and Scymnus sp., and treehoppers such as Acutalis tartarea (family Membracidae).[9]

Beggar's-tick is a favorite nectaring flower of many species of butterflies.[10] Bidens alba is visited by the bees Apis dorsata, A. florea (family Apidae), Hypanthidioides panamensis, Megachile albitarsis, M. mendica (family Magachilidae).[11]

Herbivory and toxicology

Bidens alba is host to the ladybugs Cycloneda sanguinea and Scymnus spp. (family Coccinellidae), leafhopper Acutalis tartarea (family Membracidae), and mealybugs Penacoccus citri and P. nipae (family Pseudoccoccidae).[12]

Diseases and parasites

Crypticerya genistae is an invasive scale insect native to Brazil and is found in association with B. alba.[13]

Morgan and Overholt (2005) found that the Brazilian pepper tree (Schinus terebinthifolius) had aqueous extracts that negatively affected the the growth of B. alba.[14]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 Weakley, A.S. 2015. Flora of the southern and mid-atlantic states. Working Draft of 21 May 2015. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
  2. 2.0 2.1 [Floridata] Accessed December 2, 2015
  3. 3.0 3.1 [Eat the Weeds] Accessed December 2, 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 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.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 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.
  6. 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
  7. Hall D. W. 1991. The Joy of Weeds Common Beggar's-tick. Palmetto 11(1):15
  8. Deyrup, M.A. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  9. [1]
  10. Hall D. W. 1991. The Joy of Weeds Common Beggar's-tick. Palmetto 11(1):15
  11. [2]
  12. [3]
  13. 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
  14. 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