Bidens hawaiensis

leaf Main Plant Information





Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Kokolau
  • Koʻokoʻolau
  • Koʻolau
  • Kōʻokoʻolau

Hawaiian Names

  • Kokolau
  • Kookoolau
  • Koolau

Common Names

  • Beggarticks
  • Hawaiʻi beggarticks


  • Bidens skottsbergii
  • Bidens skottsbergii var. conglutinata
  • Bidens skottsbergii var. pololuensis
  • Campylotheca hawaiensis
  • Coreopsis hawaiensis

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Herbaceous, Medium, 1-3
  • Herbaceous, Tall, Greater than 3

Mature Size, Width

Six or more feet wide with a naturally nice forming shrub.

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Accent
  • Container

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Additional Flower Color Information

The yellow flowers are about the size of a dime or less with dark yellow centers.

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic
  • Fall

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

This species blooms in the fall, particularly in October. [1]

In cultivation, it can be a sporadic or a year round bloomer. [David Eickhoff, Native Plants Hawaiʻi]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium
  • Coarse

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green

Additional Leaf Color Information

Leaves are serrated and thick.

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Aphids, mealy bugs.

leaf Growth Requirements

Pruning Information

This species has a naturally nice shape, but can be trimmed to shape if it gets unruly.

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun


  • Clay
  • Cinder

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This species is endemic to the island of Hawaiʻi and found form about 165 to nearly 6400 feet scattered in open shrubland to mesic forests. It is presently found in three disjunct areas, Kohala, Puna District, and Kīlauea.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Koʻokoʻolau (Bidens spp.) are members of the Aster or Sunflower family (Asteraceae). There are nineteen endemic species of Bidens.


The name Bidens is derived from the Latin bi, two, and dens, teeth in reference to the pappus awns or collective bristles on the achenes (fruit, seeds).

The specific epithet hawaiensis refers to Hawaiʻi Island where this species is endemic.

Background Information

All Bidens species can hybridize, which should be avoided to keep the integrity of the species to each region and island. Individual species are often restricted to one habitat.

The natives are not invasive as are some of the alien species such as kī (Bidens pilosa) with its harpoon-like seeds (kukū) that seem attracted to long pants, socks and shoe laces or the White beggarticks (Bidens alba) that blanket huge areas with "cute-but-don't-grow-them-anyway" white and yellow flowers.

Modern Use

All species of koʻokoʻolau can be brewed as a tonic and each are said to have distinct flavors. Regarding Bidens spp., Isabella Abbott comments that "I find that the roughly half a dozen species common in Hawaiʻi offer two or three slightly different flavors, each a bit more subtle than commercial black tea." [2]

Additional References

[1] "Hawai'i's Plants and Animals--Biological Sketches of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park" by Charles P. Stone & Linda W. Pratt, page 143.

[2] "Lāʻau Hawaiʻi: Traditional Hawaiian Uses of Plants" by Isabella Aiona Abbott, page 102.



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