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Spanish Needles

Honey Bee on Bidens, Collier Canal, 2021-08-25, DSC_1816 copy.JPG

Spanish Needles, Devil’s Pitchfork, are one and the same – and humans have bestowed this plant with several other common names. This plant is scientifically known as Bidens alba. This plant is generally well-known and often disliked because it is common and produces seeds that stick to our clothing as we walk by and to our dog’s fur. But this is a native plant – almost certainly originating in South America, but spread widely by humans and animals who unknowingly carried its seeds to new areas. Devil’s Pitchfork and its relatives can be found in warmer areas around the world. On the positive side it is a major source of nectar for butterflies, bees, and other insects, it adds a bit of beauty to the landscape by flowering year-round, and it is also useful as a source of food for humans.