Bidens frondosa

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Bidens frondosa (Beggar-ticks)[1]

Retrosely barbed achene of B.frondosa [2]

Taxonomy and Systematics

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Angiosperms

Class: Eudicots

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Bidens

Species: B. frondosa

Descriptive notes

Bidens frondosa, also known as Common Beggarticks, Tickseed, Devil’s Bootjack, Devil’s pitchfork, and Pitchfork Weed is an herb native to North America. It can grow up to 2 meters tall, and has a reddish purple stem. Leaves are pinnately compound, and the lowest segments of of divided leaves are closely tapered to the base, but are not decurrent on the petioles. The small yellow composite flowers of B. frondosa have rays under 5 mm long and surround flattened, retrosely barbed achenes. The involucre is comprised of an outer series of oblong lanceolate bracts (5 in number) and an inner series made up of lighter colored bracts that are approximately 1 cm long.

Campus distribution and habitat

This Beggartick can be found around the small pond in the woods next to CAPA as well as in the swampy area behind the maintenance building and near the water on the blue trail. It prefers a muddier environment, growing mostly in swampy areas.

General distribution

Bidens frondosa can be found throughout North America on the borders of streams, ponds, wet meadows, marshes, and cultivated ground.

Other notes

Although B. frondosa is native to North America, it is considered an invasive species throughout Europe and New Zealand, where it has spread rapidly due to the latching, tick-like nature of its seeds which allows them to be carried long distances by unsuspecting victims. Also, because this species grows close to water many water dwelling animals including muskrats and ducks eat it.


  • Magee, Dennis W. & Ahles, Harry E. Flora of the Northeast: A Manual of the Vascular FLora of New England and Adjacent New York. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.
  • Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs and Vines of Northeastern and North Central North America. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company 1977.
  • USDA, NRCS. 2010. The PLANTS Database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.