1) Plant History & General Information:
a) Scientific Name(s): 19 different species of the genus Bidens: B. amplectens Sherff, B. asymmetrica (H.Lev.) Sherff, B. campylotheca Schultz-Bip., B. cervicata Sherff, B. conjuncta Sherff, B. cosmoides (A.Gray) Sherff, B. forbesii Sherff, B. hawaiensis A.Gray, B. hillebrandiana (Drake) O.Deg., B. macrocarpa (A.Gray) Sherff, B. mauiensis (A.Gray), B. menziesii (A.Gray) Sherff, B. micrantha Gaudich., B. molokaiensis (Hillebr.) Sherff, B. populifolia Sherff, B. sandvicensisLess., B. torta Sherff, B. valida Sherff, B. wiebkei Sherff
b) Region of Origin: Hawai`i.
c) General History: When one thinks of Hawaiian plants used as medicine, Awa, kookoolau and Mamaki come immediately to mind.
Medicinal uses: The entire ko‘oko‘olau plant is used in the treatment of ‘ea and pa‘ao‘ao. For adult, it is used in conjunction with ‘uhaloa tap roots (Waltheria indica), the bark of ‘ōhi‘a ‘ai root (Syzygium malaccense), kukui flowers (Aleurites moluccana), ‘ala‘alawainui pehu (Peperomiaspp.), noni fruits (Morinda citrifolia), and kō kea (white sugracane,Saccharum officinarum) for adults.
For cleansing or purification, as well as appetite restoration the leaves and leaf buds are used in conjunction with the flowere, leaves, and leaf buds of the ko‘oko‘olau (Bidensspp.), the fruit and leaf buds of the moa holokula (?), leaf bud and flowers of ‘uhaloa, red lehua leaf buds (Metrosideros spp.), and kō honua‘ula (red sugarcane). For illnesses classified as kohepopo (nae‘oiku, papaku, hopilo, ke‘ewai, wai‘opua) the leaves, leaf buds, flowers, and roots are mixed with moa holokula fruit and leaves, leaves and flowers of ‘ala‘alawainui pehu, flowers and leaves of the ‘ala‘alawainui pohina (Plectranthus parviflorus), bark of ‘ōhi‘a ‘ai, red lehua buds, kukui flowers and endosperm, noni fruits, kō kea, and ihi makole (Oxalis corniculata) (Chun 1994:160–162). Herbal teas made from leaves to treat throat and stomach troubles and for bad cases of asthma (Abbott 1992:02).
Propagation: Easy. [B. aplectens] Seeds/cuttings; plant seeds horizontally & slightly below surface of vermiculite, germinates in 2 weeks, water & fertilize regularly; pinch tips off for tea or to make plants bushy; sometimes not long-lived so may need to periodically replant (Culliney and Koebele 1999:93–96, see also Bidens sp. Bornhorst 1996:39–41; Nagata 1992:1993 addendum)