Shepherd’s Needles

This small, white, daisy-like flower with white petals and a yellow center made out of smaller, yellow flowers is Bidens alba, a fast-growing wildflower also known as shepherd’s needles, beggarticks, Spanish needles or butterfly needles. Bidens means two-toothed, and describes the twin projections at the top of the plant’s thin, elongated, black, stick-to-clothing seeds.

This hardy little plant can grow almost anywhere, and due to its large number of seeds produced (about 1200 seeds per plant) it spreads quite fast. The flowers provide nectar for butterflies and honeybees; the leaves are edible by humans.

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