Bidens frondosa (Devil's Beggarticks)
|Also known as:||Leafy Beggarticks, Devil's Pitchfork|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; along shores, wet ditches, wet fields, disturbed soil|
|Bloom season:||July - October|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Usually single, sometimes 2 or 3 stalked flower heads at the end of branching stems. Flowers are petal-less, have a yellow-orange center disk about ½ long to ¾ inch wide made up of tiny 5-lobed disk flowers. Inner bracts surrounding the disk are all equal in size, generally egg-shaped, brownish green to yellow.
Sparsely set about the flower head are 5 to 12 green, conspicuously long, narrowly spatula-shaped leafy outer bracts of unequal sizes, conspicuously hairy around the edges. Flower stalks are slender and up to 6 inches long.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are compound in groups of 3 or 5. Leaflets are 2 to 4 inches long, ½ to 1 inch wide, on a slender stalk with the terminal leaflet predominant. Leaflets are lance shaped, tapered sharply at the tip and narrowing more abruptly at the base, sharply toothed around the edges, undersides with short soft hairs. Stems are erect and branched, mostly smooth and may have a purplish color.
There are several species of Bidens with similar flowers, but they are not so difficult to tell apart once you know the secret. Purple-stem Beggarticks (Bidens connata) has the most similar flowers, but usually simple leaves, occasionally lobed, and seeds with usually 2 to 4 awns. Three-lobed Beggarticks (Bidens tripartita) also has leaves that are mostly simple, seeds all with 3 awns, and larger, more numerous leafy bracts. Big Devil's Beggarticks (Bidens vulgata) is a larger plant (up to 6 feet) that has more numerous bracts that are much more densely and coarsely hairy. Of the native beggars-ticks that display few if any ray flowers, B. frondosa is the most widespread and common.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County, and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?