Bidens connata (Purple-stem Beggarticks)

Plant Info
Also known as: Swamp Beggarticks
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
Habitat:part shade, sun; wetlands, lake shores, swamps
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:8 to 80 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:none
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: indistinct

[photo of flower] There are 1 to 3 stalked flower heads at the ends of branching stems. The flower center is round, ¼ to ½ inch across, orange-yellow, made up of tiny disk flowers with 4 or 5 lobes. Ray flowers (petals) are uncommon, though 1 to 5 yellow rays, often short and stubby, may be observed.

[photo of bracts] Inner bracts surrounding the disk are all equal in size, narrowly egg-shaped, brownish green to yellow. The outer leafy green bracts are unequal in size, 2 to 3 times longer than the head, narrow lance-elliptic to spatula shaped, loosely and irregularly spaced, usually with a few short hairs scattered around the edges.

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

[photo of unlobed leaves] Leaves are 1½ to 4 inches long, 1/3 to 1¼ inches wide, opposite, mostly unlobed, lance-elliptic with serrated edges or irregularly toothed, a sharp point at the tip, stalkless or tapering at the base to a short winged stalk, hairless or hairy to varying degrees, especially around the edges.

[photo of lobed leaf] Sometimes lower leaves have one to a few deep lobes towards the base. Stems are erect and can be green or tinged red but usually purple in color, hence the common name Purple-stem Beggarticks. Stems are typically smooth but fine hairs may be present.

Fruit: Fruit type: barbed Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of seed] The flower heads produce purplish black to brown seeds ¼ to 1/3 inch long that are 4-angled but somewhat flattened. At the top are usually 2 to 4 barbed awns that help it attach to anything that passes by (like my clothes). Barbs are along the angles and often the surface as well.


There are several species of Bidens with similar flowers, but they are not so difficult to tell apart once you know the secret.The flowers of Devil's Beggarticks (Bidens frondosa) are most similar, but it has leaves compound in 3s or 5s, and seed with only 2 awns. Three-lobed Beggarticks (Bidens tripartita) also has opposite leaves that are mostly simple, but a broader flower head that is yellow, not orangish, larger, more numerous leafy bracts, and seeds that are mostly all 3-awned. Big Devil's Beggarticks (Bidens vulgata) has 10 to 20 densely hairy leafy bracts around a 1-inch disk.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken at Vadnais/Snail Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County.


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

Posted by: sue - White Earth MN
on: 2012-10-04 15:09:08

Found the plant growing at the edge of a dried up lake/swamp on September 30, 2012

Posted by: Susan - Minneapolis backyard
on: 2015-09-06 09:40:52

I have a large number of these. I have not seen the seeds yet. Since they are native, I will leave them be.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-09-06 19:37:04

Susan, just because it's native doesn't mean it's desirable. :-) Personally I would remove it unless it's on a lake or pond shore. That's where it belongs.

Posted by: Dan - Sartell (Stearns County)
on: 2018-08-16 07:20:40

Showed up in our flower garden under the bird bath.

Posted by: Peter Koenig - N.Minneapolis
on: 2019-08-30 13:13:44

Showed up in shady wet area of garden. Let grow till I could ID. Will leave to see if comes up next year.

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