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Bidens cosmoides
Alternative Botanical Names
Bidens x dimidiata
Campylotheca cosmoides
Coreopsis cosmoides

Common Names
Po'ola nui
Potential or Traditional Uses
Lei (Flower or Seed)
Photo of Bidens cosmoides
Bidens cosmoides is a slightly woody climbing plant ranging in height from 3 to 8 feet. In the garden, the plants generally grow to only 3 or 4 feet tall. The sprawling branches will sometimes root if they are in contact with the soil. The leaves are 4 to 12 inches long and made up of 3 to 9 pointed leaflets.

The yellow flowers are 2 to 3 inches in diameter and have daisy-like petals. However, they are bell-shaped, rather than flat. The flowers hang downward in groups of 1 to 3 on the ends of the side branches. The flower shape is unique in this genus and may be an adaptation to bird pollination. (Koob 2001; Wagner 1990)

Habitat and Geographic Range
Bidens cosmoides is an endemic plant from the island of Kaua'i. It occurs in damp forests at elevations from 2,400 to 3,900 feet. (Wagner 1990)
Propagation by Seeds
The seeds of Bidens cosmoides are dark brown and curved or twisted. They are 3/8 to 1/2 inch long and very narrow. Bidens species will hybridize, so plants from seeds collected where more than one species is in flower may not be true to type.

Allow seeds to dry on the plant before harvesting. Plant the seeds shallowly in moist, sterile potting medium. Keep the medium moist and the seeds should begin germinating in 1 to 3 weeks.

Bornhorst writes that fresh, mature seeds germinate best. Koob, however, states that seeds can be stored refrigerated for several years.(Bornhorst 1996; Koob 2001; Wagner 1990)

Propagation by Cuttings
Bidens sp. can be grown from cuttings. Koob recommends using 2 to 6 inch long cuttings from branch tips that do not have any flowers or seeds.

Rooting hormones are not needed, but low strength compounds will speed up the formation of roots. Use the lowest strength Hormex rooting powder, or dilute liquid rooting compounds at a rate of 1 part concentrate to 20 parts water. After removing the lower leaves, stick the cutting into moist medium. Keep the medium moist. Cuttings will root in 3 to 6 weeks. (Koob 2001)

Propagation by Division
No information located to date.
Propagation by Air Layers
Side branches of Bidens cosmoides will root if they contact moist soil. (Koob 2001)
Propagation by Grafting
No information located to date.
Propagation by Tissue Culture
No information located to date.
Bornhorst, Heidi L. 1996. Growing native Hawaiian plants: a how-to guide for the gardener. Honolulu: The Bess Press. p. 39-41.

Koob, Gregory A. 2001. Grow your own Hawaiian herbal tea - Ko'oko'olau. Hawai'i Horticulture 4 (4):3-9.

Wagner, Warren L., Darrel R. Herbst, and S. H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i. 2 vols., Bishop Museum Special Publication 83. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press and Bishop Museum Press. p. 267-283.

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The image in this record is used with permission from Dr. Gerald Carr's Web site "Hawaiian Native Plants" at

Last updated:
14 August 2001

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