Bidens tripartita-Swamp Beggarticks

Bidens tripartita (Swamp Beggarticks) on 9-18-19, #634-1.

Swamp Beggarticks, Three-Lobed Beggarticks, Threelobe Beggarticks, Burr Marigold 

Bidens tripartita

By-denz  try-par-TEE-tuh

Synonyms of Bidens tripartita (27) (Updated on 5-4-21 from Plants of the World Online): Bidens acuta Britton, Bidens bullata L., Bidens cannabina Lam., Bidens comosa (A.Gray) Wiegand, Bidens comosa var. acuta Jeps., Bidens connata var. comosa A.Gray, Bidens effusa Thuill. ex Sherff, Bidens fastigiata Michalet, Bidens frondosa Buch.-Ham. ex Hook.f., Bidens hybrida Thuill., Bidens intermedia Opiz ex Nyman, Bidens minor (Wimm. & Grabowski) Vorosch., Bidens minuscula Leveille Vaniot, Bidens nodiflora L., Bidens nudiflora Steud., Bidens orientalis Velen. ex Bornm., Bidens platycephala Oerst., Bidens pumila Steud., Bidens repens D.Don, Bidens shimadae Hayata, Bidens trifida Roxb., Bidens trifoliata Gueldenst. ex Ledeb., Bidens tripartita subsp. comosa (A.Gray) A.Haines, Bidens tripartita var. minima Huds., Bidens tripartita var. orientalis (Velen.) Stoj. & Stef., Bidens tripartita var. repens (D.Don) Sherff, Bidens tripartita var. shimadae (Hayata) Yamam.

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

Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 224 species in the Bidens genus (as of 5-4-21 when I last updated this page) It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,679 genera. Those numbers could change( and likely will).

Distribution map of Bidens tripartita from Plants of the World Online. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; Retrieved January 23, 2020.

The above distribution map of Bidens tripartita from Plants of the World Online by Kew shows its native range in green and a few locations where it was introduced in purple (Kuril Island., New South Wales, and Victoria). The map on the USDA Plants Database for North America is somewhat different. The species may have a greater range than the maps show. The map on iNaturalist shows where members have made observations.

There are a few species of Bidens with similar characteristics as Bidens tripartita such as Bidens connata and Bidens comosa, etc. Some, such as Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri, says B. connata is a synonym of B. tripartita. All are listed as accepted scientific names on Plants of the World Online and World Flora Online. More work is being done on this group because of their similarities and variability.


Bidens tripartita (Swamp Beggarticks) on 9-18-19, #634-2.

I found a very small patch of Bidens tripartita behind the pond in the back pasture. This small area has several species of wildflowers found nowhere else on the farm. Bidens tripartita is an annual, herbaceous flowering plant in the plant family Asteraceae.

As I mentioned, there are several Bidens species that have similar flower heads. Basically, the flower heads consist of 20-40 disc florets with just a few small or no ray florets (petals). The flower heads are surrounded by 4-9  green outer bracts that are long, loosely ascending, and finely toothed. There are also 7-8 yellow inner bracts that surround the flower head.

Bidens tripartita (Swamp Beggarticks) on 9-18-19, #634-3.

The main stems are glabrous (smooth) and the leaves grow opposite one another from leaf nodes. The leaves, which I need more photos of, are lance-shaped (lanceolate) to sort of oblong always ending in a sharp point. The leaves have toothed margins and sometimes the lower leaves may be lobed. Leaves seem to be mostly smooth (glabrous) or have fine hairs (slightly pubescent). Leaves growing on the main stem seem to have petioles (petiolate-stem between the node and base of the leaf) while those on the branches seem to be sessile (have no petioles).

Side branches arise from the stem above the nodes which end in 1-3 flower heads. Stems can be green, purplish, or a combination of the two.

A similar species, Bidens connata, has one common name of Purple-Stemmed Tickseed. Plants of the World Online says the species is accepted, but it is not listed on the Missouri Plants website. Steyermark’s Flora of Missouri says B. connata is a synonym of B. tripartita but that was written several years ago and A LOT has changed. When it is all said and done, whenever that will be, it is highly possible Bidens connata will be a synonym of Bidens tripartita… You never know… Several Bidens species look so much alike you can’t tell them apart even if you are pretty sure. The word “variable” comes to mind.

Bidens tripartita (Swamp Beggarticks) on 9-18-19, #634-4.

More “technical” botanical terminology can be found using the links below by clicking on World Flora Online, Missouri Plants, Midwest Weeds and Wildflowers, Minnesota Wildflowers, etc. The link to Illinois Wildflowers is about the Bidens connata (Purple-Stemmed Tickseed).

The link to Joybille Farm talk about the herbal uses of this species. It is a very good read.

I have enjoyed photographing and learning about the many wildflowers growing on the farm and other areas. I have grown over 500 different plants and most have pages listed on the right side of the blog. 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 horticulturalist 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 didn’t take more photos of this species in 2020, so maybe I can in 2021.

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. 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 I would enjoy hearing from you.


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 or add new photos but I do get behind. We are all a work in progress. 🙂


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