Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bidens pilosa


Bidens pilosa


Bidens pilosa, or Cobblers pegs, is a tropical to subtropical herbaceous weed with edible and medicinal properties. It has a wide distribution, with a centre of diversication in Mexico.

Bidens pilosa
Cobblers pegs
ASTERACEAE

Identification
Square stem. Distinctive seed-head.
 Leaflets  simple, tripartite or dissected, margins serrate.
Inflorescence discoid or radiate.
Linear, obcompressed-quadrangulate, attenuate achenes.
Habitat/Cultivation 
Inhabits wastelands, open fields, urban areas.
Native to Mexico, North and Central America.
Record of collection in Australia by Banks and Solander in 1770!
Flowers  Year round
Fruits   Year round
Etymology  
Warning  
Edibility
Edible young leaves
Medicinal
Anti-bacterial Anti-inflammatory Analgesic Anti-viral Anti-ulcerogenic


This plant is quite variable in appearance, with these two specimen growing within 2m of each other. Note the difference between the leaves.


Fig.1. Simple leaves, with a slightly serrated margin
Fig.2. Tripartite leaf, with a serrated margin























Flowers may either have ray florets or be lacking, or even lose them fairly early.



Fig.3. Inflorescence with ray florets (white)
Fig.4. Inflorescence without ray florets













 






The seed heads (achenes) are an identifying feature, and anyone familiar with this species will know the joys of reming seeds from clothing (If the material is sturdy, seeds may be removed fairly quickly with a knife held at an angle, and used with a movement somewhat like shaving with the old-style razors). I found this interesting photo from a Hawaiian Botany page, contrasting seed heads of different species.

Fig.5. Source-

Fig.6. Seed head. Note barbs on the ends of the seed. This
is what allows the seeds to "stick" to your clothing
Fig.7. Seed head.
















The leaves of Bidens pilosa have been eaten in times of famine in countries such as Africa, and have a strong flavour to them that many find unpleasant. The trick with many leafy edibles is to eat the leaves before the plant starts to flower. If you have ever tried picking loose leaf lettuce after it starts to flower, in the hope of getting just a few more leaves before the plant is inedible, you will know how bitter they can be. It is the same with Bidens pilosa, and while the leaves still have a definite flavour to them, they are more palatable when harvested before anthesis (flower growth).
B. pilosa has been eaten boiled in Mexico, and used as a tea in the Marquesas, China and by Texas Indians. Both B. Pilosa nad B. chinensis (alt. B. biternata) are sold in Java (young apical shoots), used to make wine in the Phillipes (flowers or leaves, fermented with rice-sinitsit) and cooked and eaten (young shoots & older leaves) in Nyasaland.
Although I cannot find record of it, I am fairly sure I have come across some documentation about flour made from the seeds of B. Pilosa, if you know the source, please let me know.
Bidens pilosa has long been in use in traditional medicine, the heated crushed leaves applied as a poultice to wounds and boils, the leaf juice used for ear aches and eye complaints (the latter sometimes mixed with alum or lime), an infusion of the root for eye complaints. An infusion is also used for coughs and colic, with this plant also having use as an antidote to (unspecified) poison. The leaves have been used for jaundice, fever, hepatitis, diarrhoea, worms, pharyngitis, pneumonia and coughs in Brazil. The root is used to treat oedema and snakebite in India. Although I had regarded this little plant as a weed, a member of BushcraftOz forums recently made a most surprising revelation, This plant was actuallt collected in 1770 by Banks and Solander! They have the specimen in the Royal Botanic Gardens herbarium; http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/science/Evolutionary_Ecology_Research/Botany_of_Botany_Bay/plants/interesting_botany_bay_plants
 
Name
Common name
Family
Food part used
Preparation
Medicinal part used
Ailment
Medicinal preparation

Source
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE
Leaves
Boiling
Leaf
Wounds
Poultice- heated, crushed leaves
 (3)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Boils
Poultice- heated, crushed leaves
(3)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Earache
Juice, warmed
(4)
(5)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Eye complaints
Juice, with or without alum or lime

Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Root
Eye complaints
Root- infusion

Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Plant
Cough
Infusion
(8)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Plant
Collic
Infusion
(8)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Plant
Poison antidote
Juice
(3)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Stomache ache
Powdered leaf in enema
(8)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Seeds
Cuts
Burnt seed
(8)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Flowers
Diarrhoea

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Diarrhoea

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Pharyngitis

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Jaundice

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Fever

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Worms

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Leaf
Hepatitis

(2)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Root
Snakebite

(7)
Bidens pilosa
Cobblers Pegs
ASTERACEAE


Root
Oedema

(7)


References
(1)    Ballard , R. 1986. Bidens pilosa Complex (Asteraceae) in North and Central America.  American Journal of Botany
73: 1452-1465
(2)    Botsaris, A. 2007.  Plants used traditionally to treat malaria in Brazil: the archives of Flora Medicinal. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2007, 3:18

(3)   Burkill, I.H. A Dictionary of the Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula (Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur, 1966).
(4)    Dalziel, J. M. Useful Plants of West Tropical Africa . London. 1948.
(5)    DeWildeman, E. Sur des Plantes Medici-nales ou Utiles du Mayumbe (Congo Belge). Mem. Inst. Royal Colonial Belge. Vol. VI, Fasc. 4, Brussels. 1938
(6)    Morton, J. 1962. Spanish Needles (Bidens pilosa L.) as a Wild Food Resource.
 Economic Botany. 16:173-179
(7)    Rao, J., Suneetha, J., Reddi, T. & Kumar, O. 2011. Ethnomedicine of the Gadabas, a primitive tribe of Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh. International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 1/2:10-14
(8)    Watt, J.M., & Breyer-Brandwijk, M.G. Medicinal and poisonous plants of Southern and Eastern Africa, E. & S. Lvingstone Ltd., Edinburgh and London 1962

4 comments:

  1. We are positioned to provide high-quality raw materials for natural products, including Natural herbal extracts

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for info and pictures..... in bidens pilosa the picture on the left figure 3 is galinsoga parviflora... :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. in bidens pilosa the picture on the left figure 1 is also galinsoga parviflora... :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, thank you Ayurfusion! I didn't pick up on that! I will modify the blog soon to remove pictures 1 and 3, or maybe I should relabel them to prevent others making the same identification mistake that I made.
    Are you also a botanist/ethnobotanist? You have an excellent knowledge of and eye for plants!

    ReplyDelete