Bidens menziesii

leaf Main Plant Information






  • filiformis
  • menziesii

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Kokolau
  • Koʻokoʻolau
  • Kōʻokoʻolau
  • Koʻolau

Hawaiian Names

  • Kokolau
  • Kookoolau
  • Koolau

Common Names

  • Beggarticks
  • Mauna Loa beggarticks


  • Bidens menziesii
  • Bidens salicoides
  • Campylotheca menziesii
  • Coreopsis menziesii

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

No Status

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Shrub

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6
  • Shrub, Medium, 6 to 10
  • Shrub, Tall, Greater than 10

Life Span

No data available.

Landscape Uses

  • Accent

Additional Landscape Use Information

The beautiful shrubs are a wonderful addition to landscapes as they add another leaf texture to the mix.

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Blooming Period

  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • September
  • October
  • November

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

The above months only reflects photographic evidence of blooming months for Bidens menziesii. It may be a sporadic or even a year round bloomer.

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Fine

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves finely divided and one the most attractive feature of this kookoolau.

Leaf Colors

  • Dark Green
  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Spider mites, aphids, scale, spittle bugs, slugs and snails.

leaf Growth Requirements

Water Requirements

  • Dry
  • Moist

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun


  • Drought


  • Cinder

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Molokaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • Less than 150, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • Less than 150, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 3000 to 3999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 4000 to 4999, 0 to 50 (Dry)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

Bidens menziesii subsp. filiformis is common on slopes of cinder cones and in subalpine forest at 2460 to over 7200 feet on the leeward sides of and in the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, Hawaiʻi island.

Bidens menziesii subsp. menziesii is scattered on arid leeward slopes and cliffs in shrubland vegetation from about 255 to 2460 feet on Molokaʻi and West Maui.

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 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.


The generic 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 and subspecific epithets menziesii refers to Archibald Menzies (1754-1842) a Scottish surgeon and naturalist, and the first to taxonomically identify the species. [1]

The Latin subspecific epithet filiformis, thread-ilke, refers to the thin leaves of this subspecies.

Background Information

All Bidens species can hybridize, which should be avoided. Individual species are often restricted to one habitat.

However, hybrid swarms involving B. menziesii subsp. filiformis and B. micrantha subsp. ctenophylla occur in the vacinity of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa, Hawaiʻi Island. B. menziesii subsp. menziesii appears to occasionally hybridize with B. mauiensis and B. micrantha subsp. micrantha on West Maui.

Early Hawaiian Use

Leaves of all species of native koʻokoʻolau were used medicinally and for a tea tonic.

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] [accessed 11/4/10]

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

leafMore Links

Back to Plant List

Plant List

This record is as complete as we can generate for this plant profile at this point. Please email if you wish to contribute to the data. Please include sources and references for all data submitted