Bidens pilosa is primarily considered a weed, in many parts of the world it is also a source of food and medicine. The leaves have a resinous flavor, and are eaten raw, in stews, or dried for storage. It is especially important in eastern Africa, where it is known as michicha.
In Vietnam, during the Vietnam War, soldiers] adopted the herb as a vegetable, which led to it being known as the “soldier vegetable”. It is susceptible to hand weeding if small enough, even then must be bagged, and thick mulches may prevent it from growing.
In traditional Chinese medicine, this plant is considered a medicinal herb, called xian feng cao .In traditional Bafumbira medicine, this plant is applied on a fresh wound and is known as inyabalasanya. Extracts from Bidens pilosa are used in Southern Africa for malaria.
Its many common English names include black-jack, beggarticks, hairy beggarticks, cobbler’s pegs, devil’s needles, hairy bidens, Spanish needle, farmers friend, Devils Pitchfork, hitch hikers and sticky beaks.