Bidens cernua (Nodding Bur-Marigold)

Plant Info
Also known as: Nodding Beggarticks
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:part shade, sun; swamps, fens, shores
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:6 to 36 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flowers]  Flowers are 1 to 2 inches across, 8 oval yellow ray flowers (petals) with a point or notch at the tip, and a dull orange center. The petals may not all be the same length and occasionally are absent altogether. Each flower is at the end of a stalk that arises from a leaf axil. One plant has a few to many flowers.

[photo of bracts] The outer bracts are long and narrow, green and curly, and unequal lengths. The inner bracts are pale yellow to green, almond-shaped, about as wide as the petals, tapering to a blunt point.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves]  Leaves are narrow, up to 6 inches long and 1 inch wide, tapering to a pointed tip, hairless, with toothed edges and no leaf stalk, clasping the stem. Attachment is opposite, the bases of the leaf pairs nearly joined around the stem. Stems are hairless or sparsely hairy and may be green or reddish purple.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of seed head] The flower head nods down as it ages (and is where it gets its common name) so the seed head points down.

[photo of seed] Seeds are hard and dark brown, 4-angled with downward pointing hairs along the angles and 4 barbed awns that attach the seed to anything that brushes against it (like my clothes).


Nodding Bur Marigold is commonly found on the banks of ponds and lakes in late summer and early fall. It may form large colonies, but is often scattered.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake and Rice Creek Regional Parks, Ramsey County, and Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve, Oakdale MN
on: 2010-09-04 21:21:27

I saw a couple plants for the first time (for me) ever on 9/3/10 in a ditch along the main path into the park, standing in water in the exact same spot as the marsh cinquefoil and broad-leaf arrowhead were earlier this year. On 9/4/10, I noticed that the little pothole just inside the 45th-and-Granada entrance is FULL of these! For the last several years this pothole has been dry by July but with all the rain this year it's now full of water. And Bidens cernua!

Posted by: Alyson - Little Elbow Lake by East Silent Lake, Ottertail county, Dor
on: 2011-09-05 14:51:40

Found this plant by our lake. Such a pretty flower and interesting leaf. Don't know why I've never noticed it before. I just discovered this website. I find I am using it a lot. Thank you :0)

Posted by: Bruce - Reitz Lake, Carver County
on: 2012-10-05 13:11:17

A number of these popped up along our lake shore this late summer and early fall. They are all nodding and drying up by 1st of October.

Posted by: Sue - Lake Park
on: 2012-11-17 16:12:31

I love this website. Great information on wildflowers. Yesterday, I spent hours picking the burs from nodding marigold out on my jeans and sweatshirt after walking along the shore of our slough. The flowers were lovely earlier this fall, and I am delighted to now know the name of this plant.

Posted by: Keith - Wahkon, MN in Mille Lacs County
on: 2014-08-29 17:42:23

I found these flowers in at least two locations near Wahkon. I'll have to collect samples to update the distribution map.

Posted by: Christine - Parkers Prairie
on: 2014-09-15 08:29:20

I love this website! Bought something from Amazon but I have a hard time finding anything on it and the pictures are not nearly as good. Found this in a wet roadside ditch.

Posted by: Teresa - Fergus Falls MN
on: 2015-08-28 14:03:00

Growing in our small bird spa in the front of The Prairie Wetlands Learning Center 8/27/15

Posted by: Joseph C - Knife Lake, Kanabec Co
on: 2017-09-01 11:39:12

Along the shore with an Eastern exposure

Posted by: Phyllis S - Otter Tail County
on: 2017-09-08 20:50:41

Maplewood State Park on the spit of land that separates North and South Lida Lake.

Posted by: Thomas O Martin - Medina
on: 2018-09-05 14:41:06

These surround my pond just north of Long Lake in Medina. I believe your height specifications need to be revised, however. Mine grow up to 72 inches tall.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-09-05 14:49:14

Thomas, if your plants are six feet tall it is more likely a different species.

Posted by: Judy Eakman Collins - Oak Grove, Minnesota
on: 2018-09-07 09:58:46

These flowers bloom in swamp on our property. I have lived here since 1964. They bloom particularly when swamp is mostly dry like this summer.

Posted by: Tim Johnson - Hennepin County
on: 2018-09-08 21:15:17

Growing thick along shore of Prairie Lake in Crow-Hassan Park Preserve.

Posted by: luciearl - Fairview Twp (Cass Cty)
on: 2018-09-09 13:34:43

Growing along the edge of my pond.

Posted by: Gary - Zim, MN and many other places
on: 2018-10-18 13:51:54

Is the species epithet cernua or cernuus? I have seen it spelled both ways. However it is spelled the flowers are great nectar sources for a variety of syrphid flies.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-10-18 21:13:00

Bidens cernuus might be from old taxonomy; it's not widely used. B. cernua is the accepted name.

Posted by: Scott McGerik - South St. Paul
on: 2019-09-12 18:13:56

Anyone in the Twin Cities metro area see these currently blooming? I'd like to send my dog through a patch of them to collect the seeds. I have a spot of perpetually wet soil in my yard that I would like to grow these on.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-09-12 20:33:33

Scott, you must really hate your dog :-)

Posted by: Rachel - Kandiyohi County
on: 2019-09-14 08:42:07

Pretty sure this is what is blooming in our slough. In the spring it's filled with water (this spring was wet enough that we had a couple of wood ducks), but it usually dries out by August. We have false sunflowers around the edge of our yard so at first glance I assumed that's what these were, and I haven't trudged out there to make sure, but the flowers seem smaller and the fact that beggarticks are commonly found on the banks of ponds in late summer or early fall makes me think this is probably what it is.

Posted by: Mandy - Plymouth in Hennepin County
on: 2020-09-17 23:30:18

I found today (Sept. 16) what appear to be several of these plants growing in the stream run of a pond at The Millenium Gardens in Plymouth. They are 8 to maybe 12" tall and currently in full bloom. There were pollinators on the flowers. It appears that this species has not been noted for Hennepin county.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-09-18 08:08:33

Mandy, the MN DNR's Biological Survey did record this species in Hennepin County, it just didn't get added to their MNTaxa distribution map. That seems odd, but sometimes happens.

Posted by: Judy Hart - West of Chaska
on: 2020-09-18 08:53:48

This popped up in a newly wet area (that also exploded with cattails this year) Plant is 3-4 tall with many blooms. Very pretty, cheerful plant.

Posted by: Wendy Mirth - Independence
on: 2020-10-05 13:15:51

A pond on our property has receded this summer and there are MANY of these around the perimeter. Since the pond is in our horse pasture, I am wondering if this plant is toxic to horses. Thanks.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-10-05 17:37:04

Wendy, this should be a common species in your area. You could ask your vet about it.

Posted by: Jesse Walters - Fairmont
on: 2020-10-06 11:04:42

Rose Lake, Martin County, MN. Rose Lake has receded this year giving way to Bur Reed, Bulrush and Nodding Bur Marigold.

Posted by: Susan Premo - Lake Pepin , Wabasha county
on: 2020-10-15 22:14:57

Along the shore line, on the beach.

Posted by: Thomas Swenson - Not in MN, but right across the river in Burnett County.
on: 2021-09-05 11:06:44

We have a nice colony of Nodding Bur in one of our wetlands. What I thought was noteworthy was the large number of pollinators (seems to be heavy on bumblebees) that apparently love this plant. The flowers are just humming.

Posted by: SANFORD Taly - Shorewood
on: 2021-09-05 14:53:01

Large colony in pond that was dried up earlier this summer, but took on water over the last two weeks with the heavy rains.. located in Freeman park on path through the woods.

Posted by: Donna Turner - Circle Pines, MN
on: 2021-09-09 07:12:51

There are quite a few plants along the sandy, mucky edge of Rice Creek along the channel where it flows out of Baldwin Lake in the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Preserve.

Posted by: Carrie Kostroski - White Bear Lake
on: 2021-09-13 14:47:36

A large colony is in bloom in a dry pond in Battle Creek Park just west of Winthrop St. It is easily viewed from the front ski trails nestled near a wooded area. Lots of bees visiting. Fall prairie flowers are also in their September glory!

Posted by: Deb Jensen - Maple Grove
on: 2022-05-01 12:52:25

This appeared in the summer of 2021 at the shore of our little stormwater pond in Maple Grove, growing right at the margin or actually in the water. Pond is shallow.

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