Bidens micrantha

leaf Main Plant Information






  • ctenophylla
  • kalealaha
  • micrantha

Hawaiian Names with Diacritics

  • Kokolau
  • Koʻokoʻolau
  • Koʻolau
  • Kōʻokoʻolau

Hawaiian Names

  • Kokolau
  • Kookoolau
  • Koolau

Common Names

  • Beggarticks
  • Grassland beggarticks
  • Kalealaha beggarticks (B. micrantha subsp. kalealaha)


  • Bidens ctenophylla
  • Bidens degeneri
  • Bidens dichotoma
  • Bidens distans
  • Bidens micrantha var. heterophylla
  • Bidens micrantha var. rudimentifera
  • Bidens perversa
  • Bidens remyi
  • Bidens sandvicensis var. caduca
  • Bidens sandvicensis var. heterophylla
  • Bidens sandvicensis var. leiocarpa
  • Bidens schizoglossa
  • Campylotheca dichotoma
  • Campylotheca micrantha
  • Coreopsis dichotoma
  • Coreopsis micrantha
  • Coreopsis remyi

leaf Plant Characteristics

Distribution Status


Endangered Species Status

At Risk

Plant Form / Growth Habit

  • Non-Woody, Clumping

Mature Size, Height (in feet)

  • Shrub, Dwarf, Less than 2
  • Shrub, Small, 2 to 6

Mature Size, Width

2 foot spread. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Life Span

Long lived (Greater than 5 years)

Landscape Uses

  • Ground Cover

Additional Landscape Use Information

This is a mid or low elevation, but not coastal, growing plant. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Source of Fragrance

  • No Fragrance

Plant Produces Flowers


leaf Flower Characteristics

Flower Type


Flower Colors

  • Yellow

Blooming Period

  • Year Round
  • Sporadic
  • Summer

Additional Blooming Period and Fruiting Information

This plant flowers all summer and sporadic year round. A medium-lived perennial, that will expire after several years, but does reseed often. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

leaf Leaf Characteristics

Plant texture

  • Medium
  • Coarse

Additional Plant Texture Information

Leaves range between 1 to about 3 inches long.

Leaf Colors

  • Medium Green

leaf Pests and Diseases

Additional Pest & Disease Information

Few pests bother this plant. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

leaf Growth Requirements


Responds well to fertilizer for faster, greener growth. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Pruning Information

None necessary. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Water Requirements

  • Moist

Additional Water Information

Medium amounts of water. [Ethan Romanchak, Native Nursery, LLC]

Soil must be well drained


Light Conditions

  • Full sun


  • Clay
  • Sand
  • Cinder
  • Organic

leaf Environmental Information

Natural Range

  • Lānaʻi
  • Maui
  • Hawaiʻi

Natural Zones (Elevation in feet, Rainfall in inches)

  • 150 to 1000, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 150 to 1000, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 150 to 1000, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 1000 to 1999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 1000 to 1999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 1000 to 1999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 2000 to 2999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 2000 to 2999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 2000 to 2999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 3000 to 3999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 3000 to 3999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 3000 to 3999, Greater than 100 (Wet)
  • 4000 to 4999, 0 to 50 (Dry)
  • 4000 to 4999, 50 to 100 (Mesic)
  • 4000 to 4999, Greater than 100 (Wet)


  • Terrestrial

Additional Habitat Information

This species in general are found in a variety habitats such as dry, mesic and wet forests, sub-alpine and alpine shrublands of grasses and on sheer rock walls from about 165 to over 7500 feet.

leaf Special Features and Information

General Information

Koʻokoʻlau (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 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 micrantha is from the Greek micranthus, small-flowered.

The subspecific ctenophylla is from the Greek cteno, comb, and phylla, leaf for the combed leaf margins (edges) of this subspecies.

The subspecific kalealaha [need name origin information]

Background Information

While the subspecies micrantha (West Maui, East Maui*) is apparently secure in numbers, subsp. ctenophylla (leeward Hualālai, Hawaiʻi) is vulnerable and subsp. kalealaha (Lānaʻi, West Maui,* and East Maui) is listed as a federally endangered species.

Bidens micrantha has also be reported from Oʻahu and Molokaʻi but has not been collected subsequently. It is possibly that the locations are erroneous.

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


* Single collection.

# Single locality.

Early Hawaiian Use

Koʻokoʻolau flowers were used in lei making. [2]

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." [1]

Additional References

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

[2] "Nā Lei Makamae--The Treasured Lei" by Marie A. McDonald & Paul R. Weissich, pages 49-50.

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