Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Bidens laevis, Smooth Beggartick

Smooth Beggartick has beautiful showy flowers with bright yellow ray florets around the edge and disk florets which are bright yellow or brownish. Bidens laevis Smooth Beggartick has narrowly wedge-shaped fruits technically called “cypsela” that are often mistaken as one-seeded achenes. Flowers bloom from August to October or November. Bidens laevis Smooth Beggartick leaves are green and arranged opposite each other along the stem as noted in the photo. Smooth Beggartick is a native beautiful wildflower in the United States and Mexico. It is now commercially available under the names Joaquin Sunflower and Bur Marigold. Bidens laevis Smooth Beggartick are also called Smooth Bidens, Smooth Bur Marigold and also Larger Bur Marigold. Plants prefer elevations from 3,500 to 9,000 feet (1,000-2,700 m); below 6,500 feet (2,000 m) in California. Preferred habitats include freshwater wetlands, sloughs and shallow lakes. Bidens laevis

Scientific Name: Bidens laevis
Common Name: Smooth Beggartick

Also Called: Smooth Bidens, Smooth Bur Marigold, Larger Bur Marigold

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Bidens elegans, Bidens nashii, Bidens persicaefolia, Helianthus laevis)

Status: Native

Duration: Annual, perennial

Size: 6 to 36 inches (15-91 cm).

Growth Form: Forb/herb; generally glabrous, plants decumbent to erect.

Leaves: Green; opposite, deciduous, simple; acute to acuminate; sessile, lanceolate or lance-oblong leaf bases cuneate to rounded, margins usually coarsely dentate to serrate, sometimes ciliate.

Flower Color: Yellow, bright yellow; floral heads erect, radiate; ray florets 7 or 8, bright yellow; disk florets 60 to 100, corollas yellow to orange-yellow; phyllaries 8 to 12, ovate or obovate; fruit narrowly wedge-shaped cypsela (mistakenly referred to as an achene).

Flowering Season: August to October or November

Elevation: 3,500 to 9,000 feet (1,000-2,700 m); below 6,500 feet (2,000 m) in California

Habitat Preferences: Freshwater wetlands, sloughs and shallow lakes.

Recorded Range: Smooth Beggartick is found in the southern half of the United States, north to New England states and southward into Mexico and South America.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Bidens laevis.

North America species range map for Bidens laevis:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Bidens laevis: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown

Wetland Indicator: In North America Bidens laevis has the following wetland designations:
Arid West, OBL;
Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plain, OBL;
Eastern Mountains and Piedmont, OBL;
Great Plains, OBL;
Midwest, OBL;
Northcentral & Northeast, OBL;
Western Mountains, Valleys, and Coast, OBL.
OBL = Almost always occur in wetlands.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Bidens laevis (Smooth Bur-marigold) is listed as Threatened by the state of New York.

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

The genus Bidens was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

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

Comments: Smooth Beggartick is a native beautiful wildflower in the United States and Mexico. It is now commercially available in the nursery trade through several Internet sources often under the names Joaquin Sunflower and Bur Marigold.
The type (Bidens persicaefolia) from near Ruby, (Santa Cruz County) Arizona.

In Southwest Desert Flora also see Apache Beggarticks, Bidens aurea, Bigelow's Beggarticks, Bidens bigelovii and Fewflower Beggarticks, Bidens leptocephala.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Seeds of Bidens bigelovii may likely be eaten by birds and small mammals.

Special Value to Native bees, Butterflies and Insects
Daisy type flowers such as Smooth Beggartick often attract a myriad of insects.

The genus Bidens is derived from the Latin bis, "twice", and dens, "tooth", together meaning "2-toothed" a reference to the bristles on the achene fruits. The genus Bidens was published by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.

The species epithet "laevis" means smooth, free from hairs or roughness.

Bidens 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.

The Paiute used Smooth Beggartick for food.
  • Paiute Food, Unspecified, Species used for food.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 02/01/2020, updated 05/27/2020
    Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, Arizona Flora, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 01/30/2020)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/30/2020).
    Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet (accessed 01/31/2020). Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
    David J. Keil 2012, Bidens laevis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, eflora_display.php?tid=1711, accessed on January 31, 2020.
    John L. Strother, Ronald R. Weedon, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae | Bidens 18. Bidens laevis (Linnaeus) Britton, Sterns & Poggenburg, Prelim. Cat. 29. 1888; Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    ETYMOLOGY: Michael L. Charters; California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology; (accessed 01/31/2020)