Open the Advanced Search

Nodding Bur-marigold

Bidens cernua

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Irish Fleabane, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Ditches, floodplains, marshes, ponds, riversides, swamps, water, waterside, wetland.

Yellow, 8 petals
Golden yellow, oval petals. The tips of the petals are either notched or pointed. Flowers have 5 stamens. The inner bracts are blunt and pale yellow. The green outer bracts of the flowers are long, narrow and curly. The flowers nod with age. The flowers are larger than those of the similar looking Trifid Bur-marigold (Bidens tripartita).
A dark brown, 4-angled seed, 6 to 8mm in length. The tip of the seed has 3 or 4 barbed awns attached to it. The fruits are narrower than those of Trifid Bur-marigold.
The leaves are narrow, measuring up to 6 inches (15cm) long and 1 inch (2.5cm) wide. They are stalkless and hairless. The leaves are opposite and clasp the stem. Leaf margins have some but few large teeth. The stem is often tinged purple. The stem is thicker than that of Trifid Bur-marigold. Nodding Bur-marigold is an annual.
Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua) is not known for its pleasant fragrance. In fact, when its leaves are crushed or damaged, they emit a pungent and somewhat unpleasant odor. The plant's fragrance is not typically considered desirable, and it is not used for its scent in any traditional or commercial applications.
Other Names:
Nodding Beggarticks.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Bidens cernua, also known as nodding beggarticks or nodding bur marigold, is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to North America and is commonly found in wetland areas, such as marshes, swamps, and along the edges of ponds and lakes. B. cernua is an annual herb that grows to a height of up to 1 meter. It has hairy, green leaves and small, yellow or orange flowers that bloom in the summer. The plant is valued for its medicinal properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems and skin conditions. It is also used as a food source and is an important habitat plant for a variety of wildlife species. B. cernua is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is known for its ability to tolerate wet, muddy soil.


Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua) is a species of flowering plant that belongs to the sunflower family (Asteraceae). It is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to North America and can be found growing in a variety of habitats such as wetlands, ditches, and meadows.

The Nodding Bur-marigold is a small plant that grows to a height of 15-30 cm. It is characterized by its distinctive nodding flowers that are yellow in color and have a disk-like shape. The flowers are borne on long, slender stalks and bloom from mid-summer to early autumn.

The plant has deeply lobed leaves that are arranged alternately along the stem. The leaves are green and have a toothed margin. The Nodding Bur-marigold is a hardy plant that is relatively easy to grow and can be propagated from seeds or cuttings.

One of the most interesting features of this plant is its ability to adapt to different environmental conditions. It can grow in a variety of soils and can tolerate both drought and wet conditions. This makes it a good choice for gardens or landscaping projects in areas that experience frequent changes in weather conditions.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Nodding Bur-marigold is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The flowers attract a variety of insects, including butterflies and bees, which are important pollinators. The plant also provides food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

In traditional medicine, the Nodding Bur-marigold has been used for a variety of ailments, including digestive problems and skin irritations. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and has been used to treat wounds and other skin conditions.

However, it is important to note that the medicinal use of this plant should only be done under the guidance of a healthcare professional, as some parts of the plant can be toxic if consumed in large amounts.

In terms of cultivation, the Nodding Bur-marigold is relatively low maintenance and is relatively pest and disease resistant. It prefers moist, well-drained soils and can grow in partial shade to full sun.

It is important to be careful when planting this species, as it can spread rapidly and become invasive in certain areas. This is especially true in regions where the plant is not native, as it may outcompete native plants and disrupt local ecosystems.

Overall, the Nodding Bur-marigold is a unique and beautiful plant that can add visual interest to gardens and landscapes. With its adaptability and attractive flowers, it is no wonder that this species has become a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers alike.

In terms of landscaping and garden design, the Nodding Bur-marigold is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of ways. It can be planted as a mass of flowers in a large area, or as a border or edging plant along pathways or garden beds.

The plant's distinctive nodding flowers can add movement and interest to the garden, and its yellow flowers can brighten up any dull or shady area. Additionally, the Nodding Bur-marigold can be used as part of a wildflower or meadow garden, where its natural growth habits and ability to attract pollinators can be appreciated.

In addition to its ornamental uses, the Nodding Bur-marigold can also have practical applications in the garden. For example, it can be used to control erosion on banks or slopes, or to filter pollutants from runoff water in rain gardens.

When designing a garden or landscape, it is important to consider the environmental impact of the plants used. The Nodding Bur-marigold is a native species that can provide numerous benefits to local ecosystems, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly option compared to non-native species.

In conclusion, the Nodding Bur-marigold is a beautiful and versatile plant that can add both visual interest and ecological benefits to gardens and landscapes. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this species is definitely worth considering for your next project.

30 Facts About the Nodding Bur-marigold

Here are 30 interesting facts about the Nodding Bur-marigold (Bidens cernua):

  1. Botanical Name: The Nodding Bur-marigold is scientifically known as Bidens cernua.

  2. Flower Appearance: It has bright yellow, daisy-like flowers with a dark center.

  3. Nodding Habit: The name "Nodding" Bur-marigold comes from the fact that its flowerheads often droop or nod.

  4. Habitat: It is commonly found in wetlands, along the edges of ponds, streams, and in marshy areas.

  5. Native Range: The plant is native to North America, particularly in the eastern United States and Canada.

  6. Blooming Season: Nodding Bur-marigold typically blooms from late summer through early autumn.

  7. Pollinator Magnet: Its bright yellow flowers attract a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

  8. Seeds with Hooks: The plant produces seeds with small hooks that can easily attach to fur or clothing, aiding in dispersal.

  9. Medicinal Uses: Some Native American tribes used Nodding Bur-marigold for its medicinal properties, particularly for soothing skin irritations.

  10. Edible Leaves: The leaves are edible and can be used in salads or cooked as greens.

  11. Wildlife Food: Birds often feed on the seeds of Nodding Bur-marigold, helping to spread the plant.

  12. Natural Dye: The plant can be used to create a natural dye, producing shades of yellow.

  13. Aquatic Plant: It's well-adapted to growing in waterlogged or shallow aquatic conditions.

  14. Wetland Restoration: Nodding Bur-marigold is sometimes used in wetland restoration projects due to its ability to stabilize soil.

  15. Leaf Structure: The leaves are deeply toothed and have a pungent, somewhat unpleasant odor when crushed.

  16. Invasive Potential: In some regions, it can become invasive, crowding out native vegetation.

  17. Companion Plant: It can be planted alongside other wetland-loving species for ecological restoration purposes.

  18. Historical Uses: Native Americans used various parts of the plant for medicinal purposes, including treating toothaches.

  19. Wildlife Habitat: It provides habitat and food for various wetland species, including frogs and insects.

  20. Seed Dispersal Mechanism: The hooked seeds readily attach themselves to passing animals, helping with seed dispersal.

  21. Cultural Significance: Some Indigenous cultures have traditional stories and folklore associated with Nodding Bur-marigold.

  22. Biennial Plant: It typically completes its life cycle in two years, germinating in one year and flowering in the next.

  23. Hydrophilic: Nodding Bur-marigold is a hydrophilic plant, thriving in water-rich environments.

  24. Rhizomatous: It often spreads through underground rhizomes, forming dense colonies.

  25. Adaptable: The plant can tolerate a wide range of soil types and pH levels.

  26. Conservation Concerns: In some regions, it is considered a species of conservation concern due to habitat loss.

  27. Globally Distributed: Beyond North America, some species of Bidens can be found on nearly every continent.

  28. Nectar Source: Besides pollinators, the nectar-rich flowers attract various insects.

  29. Ethnobotanical Uses: Indigenous people have used Nodding Bur-marigold for traditional medicinal purposes, often making poultices and infusions.

  30. Lifespan: Individual plants can live for several years under favorable conditions, allowing them to contribute to wetland ecosystems over time.

These facts showcase the diversity and ecological importance of the Nodding Bur-marigold in various aspects of nature and human history.


Nodding Bur-marigold filmed along the Lancaster Canal at Bolton-le-sands in Lancashire on the 27th August 2023 and the 3rd September 2023.


Please remember to Like and Subscribe to the WildFlowerWeb YouTube channel at

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map