Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

BIDENS

Image of Bidens

Mark A. Miller

Family

Asteraceae

Botanical Name

BIDENS

Plant Common Name

Beggarticks

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Almost every child, puppy and kitten has carried and dispersed the seeds of Bidens. Variously known as beggarsticks, sticktights, Spanish needles and bur marigolds these annoying seeds are the product of sweet, daisy-like flowers.

There are about 200 species of herbs, shrubs or vines which make up the genus Bidens. They are annuals or perennials and can be found growing throughout much of the world, most often in subtropical, tropical, and temperate North America and South America. Many of the species occur in grassy plains or disturbed areas and are considered weedy. A few have been adapted for garden use.

Beggersticks usually grow upright or spreading from one single or many branched stem. The leaves are opposite each other on the stem and may be toothed, cut or divided. Their small, colorful daisies have flat centers. They are mostly summer blooming. Their petal/ray flowers of the flower head are usually white or yellow and the small disk flowers in the middle are yellow. All will flower for a bit longer if their spent heads are removed. The seeds resemble small sunflower seeds with hooks, long clingy hairs or barbs.

Sheppard’s needles ( Bidens alba) is a native species of the tropical Americas which has naturalized throughout most of the warm areas of the world. The tall flower stalks topped with white-petaled flowers with yellow centers are familiar to most everyone. It is considered one of the world’s worst weeds, but is a favorite of many butterflies. Other interesting species include Bidens ferulifolia a compact grower topped all summer with many honey hued flowers, tickseed sunflower (Bidens aristosa) a fast growing, tall species with large, buttery flowers – be careful with this one, it can become invasive. And nodding beggersticks (Bidens cernuus), a North American native which produces many, pedant, yellow, butterfly-attracting flowers late in the summer into fall. Most beggersticks require full to partial sun and prefer average to fertile soil with even moisture and ample drainage. They tend to be tolerant of most conditions including drought though at least one species, Bidens laevis is an emergent aquatic plant. Most self-sow readily and quickly colonize an area with the help of animal and human seed dispersal. Be diligent about removing seedlings of escapees to control their spread. Beggarsticks are good plants for sunny summer flower borders, butterfly gardens, or wildflower plantings and their flowers are good for cutting and look pretty in arrangements.

Characteristics

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Native To

    North America, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Yellow

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Orange Red

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Cutflower, Mixed Border, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes