Bidens bipinnata-Spanish Needles

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) on 9-8-18, #504-11.

Spanish Needles

Bidens bipinnata

BY-denz  by-pin-NAY-tuh

Synonyms of Bidens bipinnata (13) (Updated on 3-2-21 from Plants of the World Online): Bidens bipinnata var. biternatoides Sherff, Bidens bipinnata var. minor Memm., Bidens bipinnata var. simplicior F.Muell., Bidens cicutifolia Tausch, Bidens cynapiifolia var. portoricensis (Spreng.) O.E.Schulz, Bidens decomposita Wall. ex DC., Bidens elongata Tausch, Bidens fervida Colla, Bidens myrrhidifolia Tausch, Bidens pilosa var. bipinnata (L.) Hook.f., Bidens portoricensis Spreng., Bidens wallichii DC., Kerneria bipinnata Gren. & Godr.

Bidens bipinnata L. is the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of Bidens. Both the genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

Plants of the World Online lists 224 accepted species in the Bidens genus (as of 3-2-21 when I last updated this page). It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,679 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made (and likely will). 

Distribution map of Bidens bipinnata from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.plantsoftheworldonline.org/. Retrieved 1-18-20.

The above distribution map for Bidens bipinnata is from Plants of the World Online. The map for the species on the USDA Plants Database shows a much wider range for North America. I used the map from POWO here because it shows the species range worldwide. Bidens bipinnata is a very versatile species covering a wide range of climates. The areas on the above map in green are where the species is native and purple is where it has been introduced. The species may have a broader range than what the maps show. 

THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH POSITIVE ID.

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) on 9-8-18, #504-12.

There are way too many Bidens bipinnata on the farm growing in colonies or even as single plants. I remember as a kid getting their seeds stuck in my socks. Too many times, even now, I have to remove them from my plants before going into the house. I try to avoid them but sometimes you just have to wade in. They are definitely one of those plants we love to hate.

I want to thank Pamela Trewatha of the Missouri State University for allowing me to share photos from their website Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers. I try to take as many good photos as I can, but sometimes they don’t always work out or I didn’t take enough.

Young plant of Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) courtesy of Pamela Trewatha of Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers (Missouri State University).

I have many Marigolds and in one bed I have to smell the leaves to tell which are Marigolds and which are Spanish needles. They look a lot like Marigold seedlings.

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) on 9-30-19, #513-4.

Spanish Needles are no problem until they go to seed. In fact, the plants are kind of nice looking with their dark green ferny leaves and yellow flowers. Every time I want good flower photos they are either haven’t flowered yet, closed, or fading… Some day!

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) leaf courtesy of Pamela Trewatha of Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers (Missouri State University).

Bidens bipinnata are classed with plants with opposite leaves. The Missouri State University website Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers describe the leaves as being finely divided (bipinnately compound). 

When not in flower and if you are not used to being around them, there are a few other weeds that have similar leaves. The horrible Japanese Hedge Parsley, Torilis japonica, is a “stick-tight” that has similar leaves and is probably the one I love to hate the most (and anyone else who has had to remove them from your socks, clothes, and pets fur). Another weed with similar leaves is the Common Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia).

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) on 10-3-18, #514-1.

This species has been introduced to many countries and is probably a U.S. native and maybe even China.

They are very adaptable plants and are not really picky about their location. I have them on the farm in full sun to part shade. Information online says they can grow up to 5′ tall… Hmmm. I would hate to run through a patch that tall.

Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) courtesy of Pamela Trewatha of Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers (Missouri State University).

Now that you know the name, you can say “BIPINNATA!” every time they get you instead of using foul language. Well, maybe in addition.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. My farm is in Windsor, Missouri in Pettis County (Henry County is across the street and Benton and Johnson aren’t far away). I have grown over 500 different plants and identified over 100 species of wildflowers (most have pages listed on the right side of the page). I am not an expert, botanist, or horticulturalist. I just like growing, photographing, and writing about my experience. I rely on several websites for ID and a few horticulturalists I contact if I cannot figure them out. Wildflowers can be somewhat variable from location to location, so sometimes it gets a bit confusing. If you see I have made an error, please let me know so I can correct what I have written.

I hope you found this page useful and be sure to check the links below for more information. They were written by experts and provide much more information. Some sites may not be up-to-date but they are always a work in progress. If you can, I would appreciate it if you would click on the “Like” below and leave a comment. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. You can also send an email to me at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com. I would enjoy hearing from you especially if you notice something is a bit whacky.

FOR FURTHER READING:
PLANTS OF THE WORLD ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
INTERNATIONAL PLANT NAMES INDEX (GENUS/SPECIES)
TROPICOS (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
WIKIPEDIA (GENUS/SPECIES)
DAVE’S GARDEN
MISSOURI PLANTS
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
ILLINOIS WILDFLOWERS
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
WILDFLOWERSEARCH.ORG
PFAF (PLANTS FOR A FUTURE)

NOTE: The figures may not match on these websites. It depends on when and how they make updates and when their sources make updates (and if they update their sources or even read what they say). Some websites have hundreds and even many thousands of species to keep up with. Accepted scientific names change periodically and it can be hard to keep with as well. In my opinion, Plants of the World Online by Kew is the most reliable and up-to-date plant database and they make updates on a regular basis. I make updates at least once a year and when I write new pages but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂

 

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