Common Blackjack


Common Blackjack

Bidens pilosa

Scientific name

Bidens pilosa is an annual forb of gracile habit, growing up to 1.8 meters tall. It grows aggressively on disturbed land and often becomes weedy. The leaves are oppositely arranged and pinnate in form with three to five dentate, ovate-to-lanceolate leaflets. The petioles are slightly winged.

The plant may flower at any time of the year, but in temperate regions it blooms mainly in summer and autumn. Flowers are borne in small heads on relatively long peduncles. The heads bear about four or five broad white ray florets, surrounding many tubular yellow disc florets. The fruits are slightly curved, stiff, rough black rods, tetragonal in cross section, about 1 cm long, with typically two to three stiff, heavily barbed awns at their distal ends. The infructescences form stellate spherical burrs about one to two centimeters in diameter. The barbed awns catch onto fur or clothing, and can injure flesh. It is an effective means of seed dispersal by zoochory, as the seeds are transported by animals. This mechanism has helped the plant become a noxious weed in temperate and tropical regions.

References and further reading

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Important characteristics

Conservation status: Least Concern

This species was selected because it has various important characteristics.

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