Beggar Tick
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Beggar Tick
A Naturalized Photo: Tabish
Common name: Beggar Tick, Spanish needle, Cobbler's pegs • Adi: Tanggom oying • Gujarati: Phutium • Hindi: Kumra, Kumur, Kurei • Manipuri: ꯍꯥꯃꯦꯡ ꯁꯝꯄꯥꯛꯄꯤ Hameng sampakpi • Nepali: तिखे कुरो Tikhe kuro • Oriya: Samara Kodaki • Tangkhul: Phanang • Mizo: Vawkpui-thal
Botanical name: Bidens pilosa    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Bidens orientalis, Bidens minor, Bidens leucanthemus

Beggar Tick is an annual forb of slender 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 toothed, ovate-to-lanceshaped leaflets. The leaf-stalks 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 flower-cluster-stalks. 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 fruits form star-shaped spherical burrs about 1-2 cm in diameter. The barbed awns catch onto fur or clothing, and can injure flesh. It is an effective means of seed dispersal by animals. This mechanism has helped the plant become a noxious weed in temperate and tropical regions. In NE India, young leaves and shoots are eaten raw or cooked as vegetable with fish. Beggar Tick is native to the Americas. In India it can be seen in the Himalayas, up to an altitude of 2500 m.
Medicinal uses: Beggar Tick is used in China and NE India in folk medicine. Either the whole plant or different parts, have been reported to be useful in the treatment of more than 40 disorders such as inflammation, immunological disorders, digestive disorders, infectious diseases, cancers, metabolic syndrome, wounds, and many others.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Manipur & Jammu & Kashmir.

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