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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa


Afrikaans name: Knapsekêrel

Flower of Bidens pilosa


Photo © Steven Herbert

Bidens pilosa

The Black-jack plant is native to North and South America and has been introduced to South Africa and many other countries. Most sock-wearing school kids will be familiar with the black seeds that easily catch onto socks if you brush past the plant.

The plant is scruffy looking and can grow to a height of 1.8 metres. It gets small white flowers which turn into clusters of seeds, each of which has barbs that enable them to catch on to clothing and fur.

In many places the Black-jack is considered to be a medicinal herb while in other places the plant is eaten.


Seeds of Bidens pilosa

Photo © Steven Herbert


References and further reading

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