Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Bidens leptocephala, Fewflower Beggarticks

Fewflower Beggarticks has small yellow flowers usually without ray florets or they may have 2 or even 3 as in the photo. This species blooms from August to October in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Bidens leptocephalaFewflower Beggarticks has bracts or phyllaries surrounding the floral head usually oblong to lanceolate in shape. Bidens leptocephalaFewflower Beggarticks has 3 to 6 linear bractlets or calyculi, 1 to3 mm long with ciliate margins. Bidens leptocephalaFewflower Beggarticks; fruits have a reddish-brown achene, linear in shape and with 2 barbed awns or pappi on their tips; barbs that readily stick to humans and animals as well and thus dispersing seeds and future plants. Bidens leptocephalaFewflower Beggarticks has light green leaves, opposite with stems. The leaves are lobed, 1 to 2 variable divisions; ovate or lanceolate to linear. Bidens leptocephalaFewflower Beggarticks grows up to 1 foot or so with solitary floral heads on tips of long slender stems. This species is found in AZ, NM and TX near the Rio Grande River and prefers elevations from 3,000 to 6,000 feet. Bidens leptocephala

Scientific Name: Bidens leptocephala
Common Name: Fewflower Beggarticks
Also Called: Few-flower Beggarticks, Tickseed (Spanish: Saitilla)
Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family
Synonyms: (Bidens leptocephala var. hammerlyae, Bidens leptocephala var. leptocephala, Bidens leptocephala var. ulinei)
Status: Native
Duration: Annual
Size: Up to 1 foot or so.
Growth Form: Forb/herb; erect; stems green, slender.
Leaves: Light green; opposite; leaves with petioles, rounded-deltate overall, 1 to 2 pinnatisect, ultimate lobes ovate or lanceolate to linear.
Flower Color: Yellow; solitary heads on tips of long slender to filiform peduncles often in corymbiform arrays; calyculi of 3-6 linear bractlets, 1-3 mm long, with ciliate margins; involucre cylindric, 3 mm high and half as wide; the bracts or phyllaries green, oblong to lanceolate; ray flowers absent or 2 to 3; disk florets 5 to 13; corollas yellowish to whitish; fruit a reddish-brown a linear-fusiform achene linear with 2 retrorsely barbed awns or pappi on tips.
Flowering Season: August to October
Elevation: 3,000 to 6,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Fewflower Beggarticks prefers mid to higher elevations, usually along streams, moist areas, preferring shady sandy areas.

Recorded Range: In North America, Fewflower Beggarticks is found in AZ, NM and TX near the Rio Grande River. It is also found in Baja California and northwest Mexico. In Arizona, it is found in the central, southern and northeastern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Bidens leptocephala.

U.S. Weed Information: No data available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No data available.

Wetland Indicator: In North America Bidens leptocephala has the following wetland designations: Arid West, FAC; Great Plains, FACW; Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, FAC.
FAC = Facultative, occur in wetlands and non-wetlands
FACW = Facultative Wetland, usually occur in wetlands, but may occur in non-wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: No data available.

Genus Information: In North America there are 50 species and x accepted taxa overall for Bidens. World wide, The Plant List includes 249 accepted species names and includes a further 595 of infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona, New Mexico and Texas each have 12 species of Bidens, California has 7 species, Nevada and Utah each have 4 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: In Arizona, Fewflower Beggarticks has a narrow window of preferred habitat where it is usually associated with water or moist areas. Although it ranges well into central Arizona it is primarily a southern Arizona species with records extending into Mexico and throughout Baja California. It is well represented in New Mexico but barely reaches into Texas.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Bigelow's Beggarticks, Bidens bigelovii.

The genus Bidens is derived from the Latin root "bis" meaning twice or two and "dens" meaning tooth; thus 2 toothed, perhaps a reference to the double barbs on the fruits.
The specific epithet "leptocephala" is derived from the Greek root "lepto" meaning slender or thin and the Latin root "cephala" meaning head.

Genus common names; The common names include; Beggarticks, Black Jack, Burr Marigolds, Cobbler's Pegs, Spanish Needles, Stickseeds, Tickseeds and Tickseed Sunflowers, all references to the barbed awns or pappi on the fruit.

Date Profile Completed: 9/28/2012; Updated, 07/25/2015, updated 09/11/2017, updated format 10/10/2017
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 09/09/2017)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 09/09/2017).
John L. Strother, Ronald R. Weedon, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | 4. Bidens leptocephala Sherff, Bot. Gaz. 64: 22. 1917. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
S. Buckley 2010, F. S. Coburn 2014, A. Hazelton 2015; FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973 Field Guide;
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 09/09/2017). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information, (accessed 09/09/2017).