Don’t know which is worse, wearing socks in the garden or growing biddybids on the side of a path. But who can resist such a beautiful wee plant that plays such tricks?

I’ve been walking past them all week, watching the seed heads mature, and telling myself not to get too close. I feel for my mother now for all the time during my childhood holidays she spent pulling biddybids from socks and trousers, and even tops because throwing biddybids at each other was great sport (I do seem to remember biddybid removal was a punishment for such games though).

Biddybid/piripiri is a NZ native of the rose family (Rosaceae). Traditionally it’s a kidney and blood cleansing herb. It’s related to the potentillas, and especially agrimony. If you want to explore piripiri’s medicinal gifts, look also at those introduce herbs.

It’s a good ground cover, growing quickly and seeding itself readily. In the wild it grows in some of the harshest places, so it’s a restoration plant – I see it growing near kanuka and the introduced weeds that grow on overused land where not much else can get a hold now. I also see it growing along creek and river beds in the bush so it must have a good tolerance for water (not wet feet perhaps) and a wide range of conditions.

At the very least it has something to teach us about paying attention.

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