10. Bidens tripartita L. (beggar-ticks, swamp beggar-ticks)
B. comosa (A. Gray) Wiegand
B. connata Muhl. ex Willd.
B. connata var. petiolata (Nutt.) Farw.
Pl. 273 j, k;
terrestrial, with taproots. Stems 10–90(–200) cm, erect or
ascending, sometimes straw-colored or purplish-tinged, glabrous. Leaves all
more or less similar, sessile or short- to long-petiolate, the petiole often
partially winged, opposite, the blade 2–8(–15) cm long,
lanceolate to elliptic (in unlobed leaves) or broadly ovate to ovate-triangular
(in divided leaves) in outline, mostly unlobed, but occasionally those of the
larger leaves deeply and sometimes irregularly 1 time ternately or pinnately
lobed into 3(5) lobes or segments or leaflets, these lanceolate to elliptic,
angled or tapered but not stalked at the base, tapered to a sharply pointed
tip, the margins sharply and usually coarsely toothed, rarely nearly entire,
the surfaces glabrous or sparsely to moderately pubescent with fine, short
hairs. Inflorescences of solitary terminal heads or appearing in loose, open
clusters, the heads discoid or appearing discoid, not nodding at fruiting.
Involucre with the outer series of 4–9 bracts 7–35(–70)
mm long, loosely ascending to spreading, mostly leaflike, oblanceolate to
elliptic, oblong-lanceolate, or linear, the margins entire or finely toothed,
often also with spreading hairs, the outer surface glabrous or sparsely
short-hairy toward the base; the inner series of 7 or 8(–12) bracts
(4–)7–12 mm long, narrowly ovate to ovate, glabrous. Chaffy
bracts narrowly lanceolate, usually purplish-tinged at the tip. Ray florets absent
or less commonly present, if present then 1–5, the corolla
inconspicuous, 3–8 mm long, yellow. Disc florets
20–40(–80), the corollas 3–4 mm long, sometimes only
4-lobed, yellow to orangish yellow. Pappus absent or more commonly of
(2–)3 or 4 awns mostly 2–3 mm long, these with upward- or more
commonly downward-pointed barbs, erect or somewhat spreading at fruiting.
Fruits 3–11 mm long, linear to narrowly wedge-shaped, more or less
flattened and somewhat 3- or 4-angled in cross-section, not winged, the faces
each with a longitudinal nerve, dark brown to purplish black, glabrous or with
sparse, short, upward angled, fine hairs, sometimes also with minute tubercles.
2n=24, 48, 60, 72. July–October.
throughout the state but absent or uncommon in the southern portion of the
Ozark Division (U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa; introduced in the Pacific Islands, Australia). Banks of streams and rivers, margins of ponds and lakes, sloughs,
swamps, bottomland forests, and fens; also ditches and railroads.
tripartita complex comprises both Old World plants and those native to the
New World that have been segregated variously under the names B. comosa
and B. connata, as well as a number of infraspecific names (Hall, 1967;
Cronquist, 1980). Morphological differences between populations that various
authors have used to separate taxa include stem color, leaf divisions, number
of disc corolla lobes, relative size and shape of the involucral bracts, and
pappus details, but these do not seem to correlate well enough to allow the
segregation of discreet species or varieties based on present knowledge.
However, not all of the plants currently called B. tripartita may
represent the same biological entity, as evidenced by the broad geographic
range, great morphological variation, and multiple ploidy levels reported in
the literature. Crowe and Parker (1981) studied this and related species of Bidens
in Ontario and suggested that populations they called B. connata
probably arose through past hybridization between B. cernua and B.
frondosa, which had regained fertility by switching to an apogamous life
cycle. Further studies are needed involving genetic variation in plants from
throughout the range of the complex.