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Acaena novae-zelandiaea

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Bridewort, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
15 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, heathland, mountains, roadsides, sand dunes, seaside, wasteland, woodland.

Variable in colour, no petals
Flowers are without petals and can be anything from green, white to purple. 4 greenish-white sepals. Pollinated by the wind.
The fruits each bear 4 red spines, approximately 1cm long. The spines turn brown with age.
Smooth, pinnate leaves. The leaves each have 9 to 15 oval, toothed leaflets. The leaf measures up to 11cm in length. Perennial.
Other Names:
Bidgee Widgee, Bidibid, Buzzy, New Zealand Burr, Piri-piri Bur, Red Bidibid.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Acaena novae-zelandiae, commonly known as New Zealand burr or bidibid, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the Rosaceae family. It is native to New Zealand and can be found in a variety of habitats such as grasslands, forest edges, and alpine tundra. The plant has small, green leaves and small, inconspicuous pink or white flowers that grow in clusters. It typically grows as a low-lying groundcover and is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens, particularly for its attractive leaves and flowers. It's not known to have any medicinal use, it's not recommended for any use.


Pirri-pirri-bur, also known as Acaena novae-zelandiae, is a low-growing plant species that is native to New Zealand. It belongs to the family Rosaceae and is known for its unique appearance and medicinal properties.

The plant has a prostrate growth habit and can form dense mats on the ground, with leaves that are deeply lobed and have serrated edges. The flowers of pirri-pirri-bur are small and insignificant, with a greenish-white color. The fruit of the plant is a bur-like structure that is covered in hooked spines, which can stick to clothing and animal fur, aiding in its dispersal.

The name pirri-pirri-bur comes from the Maori language, with "piri" meaning to cling or stick, and "bur" referring to the bur-like fruit of the plant. In New Zealand, the plant has a reputation for being a pest species in some areas, as it can quickly invade and outcompete native vegetation.

However, despite its invasive tendencies, pirri-pirri-bur has been used for centuries in traditional Maori medicine. The plant was used as a treatment for a range of ailments, including rheumatism, wounds, and skin infections. The leaves of the plant were boiled to create a medicinal tea, and the root was used to make a poultice for topical applications.

In modern times, pirri-pirri-bur has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties. Research has shown that the plant contains compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a promising candidate for the development of new natural remedies. The plant has also been found to have antimicrobial properties, which may make it useful in the treatment of certain infections.

While pirri-pirri-bur may have a reputation as an invasive species, its medicinal properties make it a plant worth studying and conserving. As researchers continue to explore the potential benefits of this unique plant, it may become an important source of natural remedies for a range of health conditions.

In addition to its traditional medicinal uses, pirri-pirri-bur has also been used in other ways by the Maori people of New Zealand. The spiny bur-like fruits of the plant were used as a natural source of velcro, with the hooks on the fruit used to fasten clothing and bags. The plant was also used as a natural dye, with the roots and leaves producing a yellow color.

Despite its potential benefits, pirri-pirri-bur is considered a pest species in some regions, particularly in Australia, where it has been introduced and has become invasive. The plant's ability to quickly establish and spread, as well as its spiny fruits that can attach to animals and clothing, have led to its designation as a noxious weed in some areas.

Efforts are underway to control the spread of pirri-pirri-bur in some regions, but its traditional use in Maori medicine highlights the need for continued research and conservation efforts. By studying the chemical composition and potential therapeutic uses of the plant, researchers may be able to develop new natural remedies while also preserving the plant's unique cultural significance.

Pirri-pirri-bur has also been used in horticulture as a groundcover plant due to its ability to form dense mats, which can help suppress weed growth. It is drought-tolerant and can grow in a variety of soil types, making it a popular choice for landscaping projects in some regions.

The plant has also been studied for its potential use in food and beverage production. In traditional Maori cuisine, the fruit of pirri-pirri-bur was sometimes eaten raw or cooked, and the leaves were used to wrap food during cooking. Research has shown that the plant contains high levels of flavonoids, which are compounds that have been linked to a range of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. As a result, there is growing interest in using pirri-pirri-bur as a natural food additive or functional ingredient.

In addition to its potential medicinal and culinary uses, pirri-pirri-bur also has ecological significance. The plant is known to attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies, and its dense mats can provide habitat for small animals and insects.

Furthermore, as an invasive species in some regions, pirri-pirri-bur has the potential to cause significant ecological harm. It can outcompete and displace native vegetation, leading to the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem function. As a result, efforts are underway in some regions to control its spread and prevent further harm to native ecosystems.

Overall, the study and conservation of pirri-pirri-bur highlight the complex relationship between human society and the natural world. While the plant has a rich cultural and traditional significance, it also has the potential to cause harm as an invasive species. Through continued research and conservation efforts, it may be possible to balance these competing interests and ensure that pirri-pirri-bur is used and managed in a sustainable and responsible manner.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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