Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Devils Beggarticks or Stick-tights: Bidens frondosa

bfrondosa8-7.jpg (166110 bytes) Weed Description:  A summer annual that may reach as much as 3 1/2 feet in height.  Devils beggarticks has prickly fruit that facilitate seed dispersal by sticking to the fur and clothing of any animal or human that brushes by this weed when mature.  Devils beggarticks is primarily a weed of pastures, hay fields, roadsides, landscapes, and nurseries.  It is found throughout the United States.

Roots:   A taproot.

Seedlings: Cotyledons areoblong in outline (up to 25 mm long) and appear to be on petioles.  The first true leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem.  Subsequent leaves are divided into at least 3 leaflets.

Leaves:  Leaves are arranged oppositely along the stem and occur on petioles.  Leaves are divided into 3 to 5 leaflets that are lanceolate in outline and have toothed margins.  Leaflets may have a few short hairs.

Stems:  Erect, branching in the upper portions, reaching as much as 3 1/2 feet in height but more commonly around 12 inches in height.

bfrondosa1-12b.jpg (104857 bytes)
bfrondosa1-12c.jpg (157662 bytes) Flowers:  Consist of inner disk flowers that are brownish in color and outer ray flowers that are yellow to orange in color.  Flowers are 1 inch in width and are fairly inconspicuous.

Fruit:  An achene that ranges from 6 to 12 mm in length and is brown in color.  Achenes have 2 distinctive spines with 'barbs' that help the fruit to stick to whatever they come into contact with.

Identifying Characteristics:   Leaves that are divided into 3 to 5 leaflets that are lanceolate and have toothed margins and the distinctive 'barbed' fruit.  Devils beggarticks is similar in appearance to Coreopsis Beggarticks (Bidens polylepis) and Spanishneedles (Bidens bipinnata), however both of these weeds have leaves that are dissected into more leaflets than those of devils beggarticks.  Additionally, coreopsis beggarticks has flowers that are much larger and more showy than either devils beggarticks or Spanishneedles.