Sep 15 2010


Published by at 9:03 am under Plants

Here's a plant most of us ignore until its seeds follow us home.

The flowers of Beggar Ticks (Bidens frondosa) are rather inconspicuous but each of its numerous seeds has two tiny hooks that cling to fabric and fur. 

I bet you recognize the seeds on this sweater...

...which explains why another name for the plant is "Sticktight."

(photos from Wikipedia)

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “Hitchhikers”

  1. faith cornellon 15 Sep 2010 at 9:25 am

    Boy what a memory jogger. Growing up in rural areas & returning to school at this time of year I never took the roads but rather the meadow byways to get to my busstops & by the time I would get to school they would be all over my clothes. Such a warm memory on such a beautiful day as this.i

  2. Kathyon 15 Sep 2010 at 10:04 am

    I know those things! I have heard the term hitchhikers, but as a kid, I called them pitchforks. I hated having to sit and pull them all out before I could put my clothes in the laundry.

  3. kellyon 15 Sep 2010 at 10:54 am

    cool. i just noticed this plant in my yard and was wondering what it was. i like its low-key, wild look.

  4. Marianneon 15 Sep 2010 at 1:21 pm

    You are right! The plants ARE inconspicuous till the seeds are ripe!

    After walking the dog, sticktights and numerous other sticktight seed-types need to be removed from clothing. It is amazing how many kinds there are!

  5. Anne Marieon 15 Sep 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Wow… I never knew these were seeds. Now I do and will use the correct name because growing up we called them “jaggers”… guess you know where I grew up!

  6. barbaraon 15 Sep 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Oh that is what those picky things are that always stick to my clothes when I am in the field. I know that many hours of mine have been spent plucking them off pants, stocking etc. Thanks for enlightening me — barbara

  7. Anne Curtison 15 Sep 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I’m guessing the function is to disperse the seeds and propagate the species, like every other adaptation. My question is how effective it is, when they stick so tightly to fabric and fur, that they have to be pulled out (and trashed) by hand?

  8. Mary DeVon 15 Sep 2010 at 10:57 pm

    Well, that brings back a funny memory! A few years ago, we had a nice southwestern-style blanket accidentally dragged through those things. I never managed to get them all out, so I just used it for a pool blanket. Well, last summer I hung it on the back porch to dry — and it was STOLEN! I figured the thief can’t very well use it at the pool (because I’d recognize it!), so they’d have to keep it inside. And I just get a good laugh picturing the blanket poacher getting scratched up by those stubborn sticktights!

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