Sp. Pl.2: 831. 1753


Gen. Pl. ed.5, 362. 1754

Common names: Beggar-ticks bident fourchette
Etymology: Latin bis, two, and dens, tooth, alluding to 2-awned pappi of the original species
Synonyms: Megalodonta Greene
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 21. Treatment on page 205. Mentioned on page 184, 185, 206.
Annuals or perennials [shrubs, vines], 5–400 cm. Stems usually 1, usually erect, (terete or 4-angled, often striate or sulcate) branched distally or ± throughout. Leaves usually cauline; usually opposite, rarely whorled, distal sometimes alternate; petiolate or sessile; blades simple, compound (leaflets petiolulate), or 1–3+-pinnatisect or -pinnately lobed (submerged leaves multifid in B. beckii, an aquatic), ultimate margins entire, dentate, laciniate, serrate, or toothed, faces usually glabrous, sometimes hirtellous, hispidulous, pilosulous, puberulent, scabrellous, or strigillose. Heads usually radiate or discoid, sometimes ± disciform, usually in corymbiform arrays, sometimes in 2s or 3s or borne singly. Calyculi of (3–)5–13(–21+) erect to spreading or reflexed, ± herbaceous (sometimes foliaceous) bractlets or bracts (sometimes surpassing phyllaries). Involucres mostly hemispheric or campanulate to cylindric, (1–)4–12(–25+) mm diam. Phyllaries persistent, mostly (4–)8–21(–30+) in ± 2 series, usually distinct, sometimes connate 0.05–0.1 their lengths, mostly oblong or ovate to lance-oblong, chartaceous to membranous or scarious (usually striate with brownish nerves, margins usually hyaline). Receptacles flat or slightly convex, paleate; paleae usually falling, (usually stramineous, sometimes yellow to orange, with darker striae) ± flat to slightly navicular. Ray florets usually 1–21+ (often 3, 5, 8, or 13), sometimes 0, usually neuter, sometimes styliferous and sterile; corollas usually yellow, sometimes white or pinkish. Disc florets (5–)12–60(–150+), bisexual, fertile; corollas usually yellow to orange, sometimes whitish [purplish], tubes shorter than throats, lobes (3–)5, ± deltate (staminal filaments glabrous; style-branch appendages deltate or lanceolate to subulate). Cypselae usually obcompressed to flat, unequally 3–4-angled, and cuneate to oblanceolate or obovate, sometimes (all or inner) ± equally 4-angled and linear-fusiform, rarely subterete, margins (± corky-winged in B. aristosa, B. cernua, and B. polylepis) usually retrorsely, sometimes patently or antrorsely, barbed or ciliate, apices sometimes attenuate, not beaked [beaked], faces smooth, striate, or ± tuberculate, glabrous or hairy, each sometimes with 2 grooves; pappi 0, or persistent, of (1–)2–4(–8) usually retrorsely, sometimes antrorsely, barbellate or ciliate, rarely smooth, awns. x = 13.


Distribution values could not be resolved to valid regions

Widespread, especially in subtropical, tropical, and warm-temperate North America and South America.


Species 150–250+ (25 in the flora).

Within species of Bidens, leaves may be simple, 1-pinnately compound, or 1–3-pinnatisect or -pinnately or -ternately lobed. For compound leaves, leaflets are described; for leaves mostly 1-pinnately lobed, primary lobes are described; for leaves 2–3-pinnatisect or -pinnately lobed, the ultimate lobes are described. Involucres in Bidens species are subtended by more or less herbaceous (sometimes foliaceous) bractlets or bracts; collectively, they constitute calyculi and they often well surpass the phyllaries. Together, phyllaries constitute involucres. In keys and descriptions here, shapes, heights, and diameters given for involucres are for involucres at flowering; involucres are sometimes notably larger in fruit. In some Bidens species, the outer and inner cypselae are obcompressed (unequally 3–4-angled) to flat, are mostly cuneate to obovate or nearly linear (broadest at or near apices), and are more or less similar except for sizes (outer smaller); in other species, the outer cypselae are obcompressed to flat and obovate to cuneate or linear and the inner are more or less equally 4-angled (in cross section) and linear-fusiform (thickest near their middles and more or less attenuate toward their tips).


1 Leaves (some or most) multifid (aquatics, multifid leaves usually submersed, ultimate lobes mostly 0.1–0.3 mm diam.); pappus awns 13–25(–40) mm Bidens beckii
1 Leaves simple, 1-pinnately compound, or 1–3-pinnatisect or -pinnately lobed (plants sometimes rooted in mud, submersed leaves usually 0; leaflets or lobes mostly 0.5–40+ mm wide); pappus awns 0 or (0.1–)2–4(–8.5+) mm > 2
2 All or inner cypselae ± equally 4-angled, mostly linear-fusiform (usually thickest in middle 1/2 and distally ± attenuate proximally and distally, each of 4 faces usually 2-grooved) > 3
2 All cypselae ± flattened (if 3–4-angled, 2 angles ± acute and 1–2 ± obtuse), usually cuneate, linear, oblanceolate, or obovate, seldom ± linear-fusiform (usually broadest in distal 1/3) > 10
3 Involucres ± campanulate to cylindric, 1–3(–4) mm diam.; disc florets (3–)5–9(–13) > 4
3 Involucres campanulate to turbinate or hemispheric or broader, (3–)4–8 mm diam.; disc florets (5–)20–80+ > 7
4 Leaves: primary lobes lance-rhombic or ovate to lanceolate, 15–30(–50+) × 5–15(–30+) mm; pappi (1–)2–4 mm Bidens bigelovii
4 Leaves: primary or ultimate lobes ovate, oblanceolate, lanceolate, or spatulate to linear or filiform, 2–25+ × 0.5–5(–15) mm; pappi 0 or 1–3 mm > 5
5 Calyculus bractlets spatulate to linear (or 3–5+ lobed, some ± foliaceous), 3–10(–25+) mm (usually surpassing phyllaries) Bidens lemmonii
5 Calyculus bractlets linear to subulate or filiform (not foliaceous), 1–4 mm (seldom surpassing phyllaries) > 6
6 Leaves: ultimate lobes 0.5–1(–2) mm wide; cypselae usually glabrous Bidens heterosperma
6 Leaves: ultimate lobes (1–)2–3(–15) mm wide; cypselae ± hispidulous (at least distally) Bidens leptocephala
7 Leaves: ultimate lobes ± linear, (2–)5–15+ × (0.5–)2–3+ mm Bidens tenuisecta
7 Leaves: blades simple, or primary or ultimate lobes lance-rhombic, lance-deltate, ovate, or lanceolate, (10–)15–30(–90+) × (5–)10–15(–40+) mm > 8
8 Leaf blades either ovate to lanceolate and 30–70(–120) × 12–18(–45) mm, or 1-pinnately lobed, primary lobes 3–7, ovate to lanceolate, (10–)25–80+ × (5–)10–40+ mm; disc florets 20–40(–80+) Bidens pilosa
8 Leaf blades rounded-deltate to ovate or lanceolate overall, (20–)25–90 × 15–35(–60+) mm, usually 2–3-pinnatisect, ultimate lobes lanceolate, lance-rhombic, obovate, or ovate, 15–30(–50+) × 5–15(–30+) mm; disc florets 10–20(–30+) > 9
9 Outer cypselae 6–7 mm, inner cypselae 10–14 mm; pappi of 2(–3) awns Bidens bigelovii
9 Outer cypselae 7–15 mm, inner cypselae 12–18 mm; pappi of (2–)3–4 awns Bidens bipinnata
10 Blades of all or most leaves either 1-pinnately compound (leaflets 3–5+, petiolulate) or 1–2-pinnately lobed (ultimate lobes lanceolate or oblanceolate to lance-linear or linear, usually 1–12 mm, sometimes to 25 mm wide); calyculus bractlets seldom foliaceous > 11
10 Blades of all or most leaves simple, margins ± dentate to serrate or margins coarsely incised (lobes 3–7+); calyculus bractlets or bracts often foliaceous. > 18
11 Ray florets 0, or 1–3+, or 3–5, laminae 2–3.5 mm > 12
11 Ray florets (5–)8–13, laminae 10–30 mm > 14
12 Calyculus bractlets (3–)4(–5+), seldom ciliate; disc florets (10–)15–20+ Bidens discoidea
12 Calyculus bractlets 5–21, usually ciliate; disc florets 20–150 > 13
13 Leaves usually 3(–5)-foliolate (leaflets lanceolate to lance-ovate); calyculus bractlets (5–)8(–10) Bidens frondosa
13 Leaves usually laciniately 1-pinnatisect or 2–5-foliolate (leaflets or lobes ± lanceolate), rarely 2–3-pinnatisect; calyculus bractlets 10–16(–21) Bidens vulgata
14 Phyllaries ovate to lanceolate (margins usually yellow); ray florets 5–6; margins of cypselae not barbed or ciliolate Bidens aurea
14 Phyllaries lance-linear, lanceolate, lance-ovate or oblong (margins not notably yellow); ray florets (5–)8–13; margins of cypselae usually barbed or ciliate (except B. mitis) > 15
15 Cypselae narrowly cuneate (lengths mostly 2.5–4 times widths) Bidens trichosperma
15 Cypselae broadly cuneate, oblanceolate, or obovate (lengths mostly 1.5–2.5 times widths) > 16
16 Cypselae 2.5–5 mm, margins (not winged) not barbed or ciliate, faces glabrous or hirtellous; pappi 0, or of 2 antrorsely barbed awns or± deltate scales 0.5(–1) mm Bidens mitis
16 Cypselae (4–)5–8 mm, margins (often ± corky-winged) usually barbed or ciliate, faces glabrate, glabrous, or strigillose; pappi 0, or of 2(–4) antrorsely or retrorsely barbed awns or scales 0.1–6 mm > 17
17 Calyculus bractlets 8–12(–16), (4–)5–7(–12) mm Bidens aristosa
17 Calyculus bractlets 12–21+, (6–)8–12(–20+) mm Bidens polylepis
18 Leaves sessile > 19
18 Leaves petiolate, petioles (5–)10–25(–60) mm (sometimes ± winged) > 24
19 Calyculus bractlets (3–)8–12(–25+) mm, or (6–)10–12(–20+) mm, usually spreading to reflexed > 20
19 Calyculus bractlets (6–)10–30(–75+) mm, usually erect, sometimes spreading > 21
20 Rays usually 6–8, sometimes 0, laminae 2–15(–18) mm; outer cypselae (3–)5–6+ mm, inner 4–8 mm (margins ± thickened or winged); pappi of (2–)4 awns (1–)2–4 mm (paleae stramineous to yellowish at tips) Bidens cernua
20 Rays usually 7–8, rarely 0, laminae (10–)15–25(–30) mm; outer cypselae 6–8 mm, inner cypselae 8–10 mm (margins not notably thickened or winged); pappi of 2–4 awns 3–5 mm (paleae usually orange at tips) Bidens laevis
21 Involucres (4–)7–10 mm diam.; calyculus bractlets erect; disc florets 15–30(–60);cypselae narrowly cuneate (faces ± 1-nerved and ± striate) Bidens hyperborea
21 Involucres (3–)6–12(–15+) or 18–25 mm diam.; calyculus bractlets ± erect to spreading or reflexed; disc florets (5–)25–60(–150+); cypselae cuneate to oblanceolate or linear (faces usually smooth or weakly striate, sometimes tuberculate) > 22
22 Involucres 6–10 × 18–25 mm; ray florets usually 6–11 Bidens amplissima
22 Involucres (4–)5–7(–12) × (3–)6–12(–15+) mm; ray florets usually 0, sometimes 1–5 > 23
23 Cypselae ± flattened, sometimes weakly 3(–4)-angled, faces usually smooth, seldom notably tuberculate (disc corollas gradually ampliate, anthers usually pale) Bidens tripartita
23 Cypselae (at least inner) usually ± 4-angled, faces usually tuberculate (disc corollas abruptly ampliate, anthers usually dark, blackish) Bidens connata
24 Ray florets 8–13 (laminae 12–25+ mm); cypselae 2.5–4.5 mm (margins not barbed or ciliate) Bidens mitis
24 Ray florets 0 or 1–11 (laminae 2–12 mm); cypselae (3–)6–13 mm (margins sometimes barbed or ciliate) > 25
25 Involucres ± hemispheric or broader, 6–10 × 18–25+ mm; ray florets 6–11 (laminae 4–8 mm) Bidens amplissima
25 Involucres cylindric, campanulate, or hemispheric or broader, 4–10(–16) × (3–)5–8(–15) mm; ray florets 0 or 1–7 (laminae 2–12 mm) > 26
26 Involucres campanulate to hemispheric or broader; disc florets (5–)20–60(–150+); cypsela faces usually smooth or tuberculate (not notably striate) > 27
26 Involucres usually campanulate to cylindric, sometimes ± hemispheric; disc florets (6–)10–25(–60); cypsela faces usually ± striate, sometimes tuberculate > 28
27 Cypselae ± flattened, sometimes weakly 3(–4)-angled, faces usually smooth, seldom notably tuberculate (disc corollas gradually ampliate, anthersusually pale) Bidens tripartita
27 Cypselae (at least inner) usually ± 4-angled, faces usually tuberculate (disc corollas abruptly ampliate, anthers usually dark, blackish) Bidens connata
28 Petioles ± winged; involucres usually ± campanulate to cylindric, sometimes ± hemispheric, 5–7(–9) × (4–)7–10 mm; disc florets 15–30(–60) Bidens hyperborea
28 Petioles not notably winged; involucres mostly campanulate to cylindric, (4–)8–10(–16) × (4–)7–9(–12) mm; disc florets 6–20(–35+) > 29
29 Cypselae narrowly cuneate to linear, margins evenly antrorsely strigillose, faces ± evenly antrorsely strigillose Bidens bidentoides
29 Cypselae broadly to narrowly cuneate or oblanceolate to linear, margins usually barbed or ciliate (proximally antrorsely, distally retrorsely), faces glabrous or sparsely setulose > 30
30 Involucres (4–)8–10(–12) × (4–)7–9 mm; cypselae: outer 5.5–10 mm, inner 6.5–11 mm Bidens eatonii
30 Involucres (4–)6–7 × (4–)5–7+ mm; cypselae: outer 4–5(–6) mm, inner (5–)6–7(–8+) mm Bidens heterodoxa
Facts about "Bidens"
AuthorJohn L. Strother + and Ronald R. Weedon +
AuthorityLinnaeus +
Common nameBeggar-ticks +, bident + and fourchette +
DistributionWidespread +, especially in subtropical +, tropical + and and warm-temperate North America and South America. +
EtymologyLatin bis, two, and dens, tooth, alluding to 2-awned pappi of the original species +
Illustration copyrightFlora of North America Association +
IllustratorYevonn Wilson-Ramsey +
Publication titleSp. Pl. + and Gen. Pl. ed. +
Publication year1753 + and 1754 +
Referencehall1967a +, sherff1937a + and weedon1973a +
Source xml grained fna xml/V19-20-21/V21 505.xml +
SynonymsMegalodonta +
Taxon familyAsteraceae +
Taxon nameBidens +
Taxon parentAsteraceae (tribe Heliantheae) subtribe Coreopsidinae +
Taxon rankgenus +
VolumeVolume 21 +