Bidens vulgata

Thank you to Robert W. Smith, a first-time contributor, for sharing today’s photograph with us via the Botany Photo of the Day Submissions Forum in this thread. ‘Tis appreciated!

Robert called this species tall beggar-ticks, but big devils beggar-tick is also used. Some sources cite it as being native only to eastern North America, while others (e.g., GRIN) suggest it is native to both east and west. It is considered a red-listed (rare) species in British Columbia–a designation which wouldn’t apply to an introduced species. That it has been introduced to Europe (where it has sometimes naturalized) is not in doubt, however.

This photograph was taken in an open wooded floodplain, which is consistent with its typical habitat: “Ditches, shores of lakes and streams, swamps, marshes, moist woods, roadsides, railroads, fields, waste areas” (via Flora of North America: Bidens vulgata).

Dr. John Hilty’s site contains an excellent factsheet about the species: Bidens vulgata.

Bidens vulgata

10 responses to “Bidens vulgata”

  1. Marika Drier

    That photo is beautiful! great composition.
    I don’t recall seeing these in Northern Michigan. I will have to look closer from now on…

  2. iris lefleur

    How large is this plant? My eyes are always peeled to the flora when I am outside and dont recall it unless it may be a stout plant. The photo as always is remarkable.

  3. Charles Thirkill

    Beautiful flower, beautiful photograph. We have Bidens amplissima (Vancoouver Island beggar-tick) here in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, but finding them is another stry.They tend to get out-competed by marsh grasses and cattails.

  4. Lee Foote

    In the southern part of Louisiana, down in Cajun country, Bidens (possibly cernua) is called “Fourchette” which I believe is Cajun French for Fork possibly? It is prolific in the highly disturbed marshlands of resh marshes where exotic rodents called Nutria denude the marsh surface and allow a diversity of annuals such as Bidens, Asters, and bedstraw to invade what would have been a lower diversity or essentially a monoculture of various bulrushes. Interesting that the adaptive dispersal mechanisms appear suited for furbearing animals as the seeds perfectly lodge in the coats of coyotes, muskrats, nutria and others. Beautiful in summer but hellish with barbed seeds for hunters, birdwatchers, trappers, and fieldworkers. Particularly bad for dog’s eyes as the seeds are at eye-level. Probably more than you wanted to know.

  5. HelenMcCall

    Is this Bidens related to the little yellow annuals sold
    as basket fillers and the like in the summer? There sure
    is a difference in scale (from the looks of the photo!)

  6. Diana Ferguson

    Totally agree with the magnificent composition. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Iris, it can grow as large as 150cm (5ft.), but more typically between 30-50cm.
    Helen, sorry, I don’t know what might be used as basket fillers. But, I suspect Bidens isn’t used much in cultivation, for the reasons outlined by Lee.

  8. phillip usual something i don’t know..after reading the all of the above..i see something i search it….wow the nutria..a 11-20# river-beaver-rat with webbed hind feet..?

  9. Elizabeth Revell

    According to one of my gardening books, the Cosmos have been known as Bidens. they’re also in the Asteraceae, but why they would have shared the name with this group I don’t know – and can’t fathom, given that they don’t share the more unpleasant characteristics of the Beggar-ticks.

  10. Julie

    I think the Bidens that Helen is referring to might be Bidens ferulifolia — there are a number of compact cultivars that are grown and recommended for use in hanging baskets and containers… This is another sensational photo, Bob!

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