Synonyms of Bidens bipinnata (13) (Updated on 10-17-21 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 221 accepted species in the Bidens genus (as of 10-17-21 when this page was last updated). It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,677 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made (and likely will).
The above distribution map for Bidens bipinnata is from Plants of the World Online. The map for the species on the USDA Plants Database is similar and also includes California. 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 map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations. Anyone can join and it is a great website to confirm and share your observations. The maps on iNaturalist are continually updated as members post new observations.
THERE ARE A FEW LINKS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR FURTHER READING AND TO HELP WITH POSITIVE ID.
The Bidens bipinnata on the farm seem to mainly grow around the edge of the yard and in building rather than in the pasture. They are there, too, because on occasion I find their seeds on my pants. I think some years they are worse than others. There is always a few in front of the chicken house and the barn.
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.
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.
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 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).
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.
Now that you know the name, you can say “BIPINNATA!” every time they get you instead of using foul language. Well, maybe in addition.
FINALLY a good flower photo!
Bidens bipinnata (Spanish Needles) grow along the fence and buildings in several areas around the yard. They don’t grow so much in the pastures compared to other wildflowers. This species may be one you prefer to call a weed…
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 email@example.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)
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA (GENUS/SPECIES)
WORLD FLORA ONLINE (GENUS/SPECIES)
MSU-MIDWEST WEEDS AND WILDFLOWERS
USDA PLANTS DATABASE
LADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER
KANSAS WILDFLOWERS AND GRASSES
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. 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. 🙂