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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Bidens aurea

Bidens aurea
Bidens aurea

The garden originally received this plant as a propagule of a plant collected in the state of Nuevo León, Mexico. Bidens heterophylla was the name attached to the plant at the time, a name which the USDA Plants Database reports is a synonym of Bidens aurea. It is commonly known as Arizona beggarticks (or Arizona beggarstick), even though the vast majority of its range is in Mexico.

From what I can tell, Bidens aurea is a highly variable species. The description of the plant in the Flora of North America (see Bidens aurea) uses many parentheticals to denote that the plant's morphological properties can vary extremely from the norm, e.g., disc florets 12–30(–60+), meaning that the number of disc flowers (the ones in the centre of this composite flower) typically range from twelve to thirty, but over sixty can be found in rare plants. More evidence of variability can be seen online using an image search: Bidens aurea, including these two illustrations, 1 and 2. Despite the poorly-known scientific names on these illustrations, both are apparently synonymous with Bidens aurea (images and synonymy via the Universal Library Compositae page).

I do have to admit to being a bit skeptical that this is all one species based on the extreme differences in morphology, but I've not found anything suitably authoritative to contradict it. Particularly curious is that the FNA treatment does not describe the plant as having nearly-white ray florets, but it's within the realm of possibility that this plant was selected for that very reason (its different flower colour).

Botany / horticulture resource link: Bamboo Research through Washington State University's Extension Unit. The site leans to local resources, but also includes a number of links that are relevant anywhere bamboo will grow.

6 Comments

What a coincidence in timing. Last night I brought in Bidens frondosa, which looks something like a green echinacea, to be identified. The Bidens had previously eluded my attention. But to reiterate your comment on variability see:

http://www.wildflower2.org/NPIN/Gallery/Detail2.asp?ID=5101

Still looking for medicinal uses of B.frondosa, but other bidens are used medicinally. Bidens tripartita. For example, Bartram's "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" , says the dried leaves and stems of B.triparta are used as for its anti-hemorrhage, astringent, diuretic and diaphoretic properties. B pilosa is used in Chinese medicine for colds and fevers, the whole herb is taken with several other herbs (including mint) as a decoction. For acute appendicitis, it is taken as a decoction prepared with 60-120 grams of dried herb; the resulting decoction is divided into four doses taken over the course of a day. (Chinese medicine always combines herbs however so it is doubtless used with strong antimicrobials like Coptis chinensis or Scutellaria baicalensis and perhaps antispasmodics.)

filtered sunlight gold
glints off my nose as I gaze
beauty found on earth

Looks like a white coreopsis.

In Florida, I have a large patch of Bidens alba growing in my butterfly garden. It is a white flower similar to Bidens aurea and is commonly known as Spanish needles or tickseed. I am constantly amazed at the variety of insects that feed on both the nectar and pollen of the flowers, ranging from myriad butterflies and moths to honeybees, wasps and a type of beetle that creates a foam at the base of the flower (I haven't identified that beetle). I also see bright orange robber beetles on it as well as bright green bees with black stripes that are smaller than honeybees. Bidens alba will bloom for much of the spring and fall if I deadhead the spent blooms.

Bidens aurea - Z8 - RHS Index of Garden Plants, Griffiths

Is it some kind a daisy ?

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